What is the referral and service process?
1. Either parent, or their lawyer may request the services of a Parenting Coordinator. The parties can agree to retain a PC in their separation agreement. Then, once the PC has been agreed upon, both parties should contact her by e-mail indicating the need for her services along with the completed PC intake form.
2. The PC will review the intake forms and obtain copies of all Orders, Parenting Plans, Separation Agreement, Court Orders, Restraining Orders, Assessment Reports from the parties or the lawyer, affidavit material, reports of CFS involvement etc. A conference call to the respective parties counsel will be made to acquire additional information. The parents and their PC will meet either separately or together to review and sign the parenting coordination agreement that outlines the scope of the PC’s services and authority and how parenting concerns will be addressed.
3. NOTE: Parents must obtain independent legal advice before signing the Parenting Coordinator Agreement, and attach a Certificate of Independent Legal Advice from their lawyer.
4. The parties must provide a retainer at that time prior to commencing any work. Generally, the PC’s fees will be split equally between the parties unless they agree otherwise.
5. The parents will work with the PC for an agreed-upon term usually 12-24 months. A PC may be dismissed before the end of the agreement only if both parents are in agreement.
6. If only one parent no longer wants to continue with the PC process, they cannot dismiss the PC.
7. The PC may resign from the process if she no longer feels she can effectively assist the family.
8. The PC has the right to meet and interview the children and any other individuals who may be able to resolve an issue .This could include teachers, counsellors, doctors, coaches or any other third party who may have helpful information.
9. Although there is no law in Manitoba stipulating that mediators/arbitrators or Parenting Coordinators have a duty to “screen” the parties for power imbalances to ensure they are suitable candidates, it is a Standard of Practice in other provinces such as in Ontario. Therefore, both parties will be required to sign a consent form agreeing to be screened before commencing any PC work.
10 Once these matters have been taken care, either parent can bring a parenting issue to the PC when an issue arises .The parenting coordinator will listen to the parent raising the issue and then contact the other parent regarding their position on the issue. The PC may meet with both parents together in a joint session or the issue may be resolved via conference calls, e-mails, letters etc. If matters cannot be resolved through discussion the PC may attempt to mediate a resolution between the parents. If mediation does not resolve the issue, the PC will arbitrate the disputed issue.