ADR - Court Roster Parenting Coordinator

The 8th Judicial District ADR Program is assembling a Court Roster of parenting coordinators in matrimonial and Family Court matters to handle high conflict parenting time matters pending before the court. Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution (ADR) process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner, educating parenting about children’s needs. With prior approval of the parties and the court, the PC may make decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.

The overall objective of parenting coordination is to assist parents in high conflict to implement their parenting plan, to monitor compliance with the details of the plan, to resolve conflicts regarding their children and the parenting plan in a timely manner, and to protect and sustain safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships. Parenting coordination is a quasi-legal, mental health, alternative dispute resolution process that combines assessment, education, case management, conflict management and, upon consent, sometimes decision making functions.

Qualifications required for Court Roster membership include:

A PC shall be qualified by education and training to undertake parenting coordination and shall continue to develop professionally in the role.

A. The PC will be required to have training and experience in family mediation and professional interaction with high conflict families. The PC shall have completed the training required by then - current rules adopted by the 8th Judicial District, and as they may be amended or modified, or have sufficient years of professional experience to seek a waiver (whether temporary or conditional as determined by the ADR Administration of the 8th Judicial District) of this requirement.

B. The PC shall be a licensed mental health professional or licensed attorney with experience in an area relating to families, or a certified family mediator with a master’s degree in a mental health field.

C. The PC should have extensive practical experience in the profession with high conflict or litigating parents.

D. The PC shall have completed training approved by the ADR Administration of the 8th Judicial District in the parenting coordination process, family dynamics in separation and divorce, parenting coordination techniques, domestic violence and child maltreatment, and court specific parenting coordination procedures.

E. A PC must acquire and maintain professional competence in the parenting coordination process. A PC shall regularly participate in educational activities promoting professional growth. A PC may participate in peer consultation or mentoring to receive feedback and support on cases and such professional consultation is specifically permitted.

F. A PC must decline an appointment, withdraw, or request appropriate assistance when the facts and circumstances of a case are beyond the PC’s skill or expertise, particularly when elements of domestic violence surface.

G. In the first twelve (12) months after adoption of these protocols, professionals who have significant exposure with high conflict families but lack some part of the criteria noted above, may petition the District, through the Office of Court Administration’s Office of ADR and Court Improvement, for waiver of a qualification.

Candidates who attend the OCA sponsored parenting coordination training agree to provide 20 pro bono hours of parenting coordination services in exchange for the free training for those families who would otherwise not be able to afford these services. After fulfilling the pro bono requirement, Parenting Coordinators will be eligible for reimbursement at the hourly rate they establish and publish in the 8th District Court Roster of Parenting Coordinators. Compensation exceeding more than $1,500.00 is subject to prior court approval.

Appointment to the Court Roster is at the discretion of the Administrative Judge of the Eighth Judicial District in consultation with the Coordinator of the Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs. Admission will be competitive and will be based on each applicant’s training, experience, education, and availability to mediate. Applicants may be requested to complete additional training or experiential requirements prior to admission to the Court Roster if, in the opinion of the review committee, the applicant’s parenting coordination training and experience does not fully prepare them for parenting coordinator status.

Parenting coordinators may be removed from the panel at the discretion of the Administrative Judge in consultation with the Coordinator of the Unified Court System’s Office of Alternative Dispute Resolution Programs.

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Application Forms & Instructions

To be considered for the Eighth Judicial District Matrimonial and/or Family Court’s Parenting Coordinator roster, please complete the enclosed application and return it to:

Sheila Schwanekamp
8th Judicial District ADR Program Administrator
One Niagara Plaza, 5th Floor
Buffalo, NY 14202

Include a copy of your resume or curriculum vitae.

Answer all questions completely.

Inform your references that they may be contacted by the 8th District Administrative Judge’s Office.

Sign and date the declaration at the end of the application.

(in .PDF format)

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Court Roster


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