Minimal Authority-Sample Consent Order
STATE OF _________
FOR THE COUNTY OF ________________
Case No. ________________
Attorney for Plaintiff
Attorney for Defendant
CONSENT ORDER APPOINTING PARENTING COORDINATOR
Entered: __________, 2013
This order is entered on the consent of the parties, who have stipulated that a Parenting Coordinator shall be appointed to work with them regarding the parenting and co-parenting issues of their children. By their signatures below,
1. The Parties Acknowledge:
1.1 They have read and understand this consent order. They are executing this Order freely
and voluntarily and based upon their own desire to have a Parenting Coordinator
1.2 That the process of parenting coordination is a non-confidential process.
1.3 The goals of parenting coordination include, but are not limited to,
1.4 Each understands that the Parenting Coordinator is impartial and facilitates a non- confidential
process to educate, mediate, assess, monitor, coordinate and make recommendations to the
parties and attorneys regarding issues where the parties are unable to reach agreement.
1.5 In appointing a parenting coordinator they agree to abide by any new agreements they
make during the parenting coordination process.
1.6 Each understands that the Parenting Coordinator is not employed for the benefit of either parent
but rather for the benefit of the child/ren.
1.7 Each understands that they are discouraging from taking any adversarial action against the other
parent without first having the matter discussed with their parenting coordinator.
2. Appointment of Parenting Coordinator
2.1 On the consent of the parties, therefore, IT IS ORDERED that the parenting issues set forth
below are referred to a Parenting Coordinator.
2.2 This court has the authority to appoint a Parenting Coordinator with the power to make
recommendations, when the parties give their consent subject to the limitations set forth in
2.3 __________________________is appointed Parenting Coordinator. They may be reached at
_________________________ ___-_____-_______. The parties shall contact the parenting
coordinator to schedule their first appointment within seven business days.
3. Authority of The Parenting Coordinator
3.1 One of the goals of parenting coordination is to assist the parties to resolve their own parenting
issues. However, when the parties are unable to agree, the Parenting Coordinator shall have
authority to make temporary recommendations on the following:
3.2 Optional: The Parenting Coordinator may make temporary recommendations on the following:
3.3 The parties hereby agree to follow the Parenting Coordinator’s temporary recommendation as
the order of the court until a contrary order is entered by the court. The parties have
_________to file a _________ regarding the PC recommendation. However, written and
final recommendations made at the completion of the process are advisory only. The
parenting coordinator shall not have the authority to determine or recommend custody to
either party. However, the PC may by way of memo, conference or testimony share their
concerns regarding both parents and the current custodial arrangements when required to do.
3.4 The Parenting Coordinator may not arbitrate any parenting issues without an additional separate
arbitration consent order signed by all parties.
4. Written Recommendations and Status Memos
4.1 The Parenting Coordinator's written recommendations and/or memos shall be mailed,
emailed or faxed to each party, their attorneys and guardian ad litem. At the request of both
attorneys a copy may also be filed with the judge. The Parenting Coordinator may send
status memos to document any impasse or non-compliance by either party.
4.2 In the case of an emergency, the Parenting Coordinator shall have discretion to issue oral
emergency recommendations, if they believe they are warranted. Emergency
recommendations, including the need for an emergency hearing, shall be communicated to
the parties, their attorneys and the Court by the means most likely to ensure that each is
aware of the request, with a confirming letter, fax or email to follow as soon as possible.
The Parenting Coordinator may subsequently issue a written recommendation, as described
in the paragraph preceding. An emergency recommendation may also address the potential
need for visitation to be changed to supervised visitation.
5. Role and Responsibility of the Parenting Coordinator
5.1 A parenting coordinator may be appointed during the separation process or post divorce.
During pre-divorce cases, the parenting coordinator shall assist the parents to resolve their
parenting plan with the goal towards assisting them to settle out of court. All aspects of their
parenting plan shall be incorporated into their final settlement. Post-divorce cases shall also
include a form of dispute resolution to assist the parties to identify and modify any aspects of
their parenting plan that require clarification to avoid further conflict.
5.2 In addition to the conflict resolution component, the parenting coordination process shall
include education on the impact of the divorce and parental behaviors on their children. The
parties shall be expected to learn how to shield their child/ren from conflict, increase parental
cooperation, improve their communication skills, resolve their own parenting matters. The
parenting coordinator shall determine if these skills share be taught in a co-parent group
format and/or during the parties joint meetings.
5.3 The role of parenting coordinator shall also include the responsibility of documenting parental
compliance with any court order, program agreements and guidelines. In addition to session
documentation and update status memos or email, the parenting coordinator may determine if
and when to video tape the joint sessions. The purpose of video-taping shall allow the parties
to view their behavior for educational purposes, and for the parenting coordinator to assess
progress. Any video tapes shall remain in the parenting coordinator’s possession unless
ordered to release by the Court.
5.4 One of the goals of parenting coordination is to avoid high conflict parties from returning to
court unnecessarily. When this goal is not attainable, then the parenting coordinator may
provide valuable information to the Court by way of testimony. The party who chooses to
subpoenaed the parenting coordinator to testify or be deposed shall be responsible for the full
fees associated with testimony. Furthermore, the party who requests the PC to testify on any
matter, must file a Motion and Notice of Hearing and show good cause in the Motion and at
the hearing why the Court should require the PC to testify. The PC must be given a copy of
the Motion and Notice of Hearing. All testimony shall be for the best interest of the child
rather than for either party. The Judge, at their discretion may determine if the cost of
testimony shall be shared by both parties.
6. Procedure and Rights of Parenting Coordinator
6.1 The Parenting Coordinator may conduct sessions that are informal in nature, by telephone,
email or in person. The parties are expected to schedule when requested to do so by the
6.2 The parties understand that the Parenting Coordinator will attempt to facilitate disputes.
Settlement discussions conducted by the Parenting Coordinator are not considered mediation.
As such, they are not confidential.
6.3 The Parenting Coordinator shall have:
7. Communication with the Parenting Coordinator.
7.1 The parties and their attorneys have the right to initiate communications with the Parenting
Coordinator. Any party may initiate contact in writing with the Parenting Coordinator,
provided that copies are submitted to the other party.
7.2 The parenting coordinator may discuss with either attorney the process of parenting
coordination and details regarding their own client. The other party shall not be discussed
unless done by way of joint conference calls with both attorneys, joint meetings, status
memos, deposition or testimony.
7.3 The Parenting Coordination process is non-confidential and the Parenting Coordinator may
exchange information with any screener, evaluator, therapist or guardian ad litem or other
party. The Parenting Coordinator may speak with any combination of parties, counsel, and
collateral contacts (including but not limited to therapists, teachers, caregivers, relatives,
friends and employers) outside of the presence of other parties or counsel.
7.4 The Parenting Coordinator shall not communicate ex parte to the court except in the case of an
emergency as stated above.
7.5 Further, the Parenting Coordinator’s notes and transcriptions of communications between
confidential sources and notes with the children shall be kept confidential and are not subject
to discovery or subpoena, unless required to do so by the Judge, if the Parenting Coordinator
determines it would not be in the best interest of the children or the parties.
7.6 The Parenting Coordinator may communicate with the parties’ children outside the presence
of the parties. The Parenting Coordinator may communicate with the therapists who are
treating the parties’ children. If the Parenting Coordinator is of the opinion that the
information or notes generated by the Parenting Coordinator’s communication with the
children or with the children’s therapists contain information that may be detrimental to the
children or that may be damaging to the children’s relationship with his or her therapist or
with either parent, the Parenting Coordinator may withhold that information in her
discretion. If either parent wishes to review such information, a review may only be
allowed on a noticed Motion, after an in camera review of the information by the Court, in
consultation with the Parenting Coordinator. If, after such a review, the Judge agrees with
the Parenting Coordinator that the divulging of such information could be detrimental to the
children or damaging to the children’s relationship with his or her therapist or either parent,
the Court may order that such information need not be divulged.
7.7 If necessary the P.C. may function as a communication conduit between the two parties until
they are able to successfully do so without the assistance of their Parenting Coordinator.
7.8 The Parenting Coordinator’s findings are not confidential, and the Parenting Coordinator may
exercise her discretion to convey information to any caseworker, evaluator, therapist or
judicial officer. The Parenting Coordinator may not casually communicate information
learned in her performance of these responsibilities to those who are not involved with the
family matter requiring determination or recommendation.
7.9 The parties must provide all reasonable records, documentation, and information requested
by the Parenting Coordinator.
7.10 No attorney-client relationship or privilege is created between the Parenting Coordinator
and the parties by this Consent Order. When the parenting coordinator is a mental health
provider the parties recognize that no legal information is being offered but rather
experience. Therefore, the parties are encouraged to discuss all legal matters with their
8. Reporting required by _________ State Law
8.1 Mandated Reporting. _________law requires that all health care practitioners (Physicians,
Marriage Counselors, Family and Child Counselors, Psychologists, Teachers, Social Workers
and others) report to Child Protective Services any information regarding suspected child
abuse. A parenting coordinator, including an attorney PC is a child advocate and therefore
shall be mandated to report.
8.2 False Allegations of Child Abuse. It is recognized that high-conflict cases have a higher rate
of false allegations. However, the parenting coordinator shall use their professional judgment
in making any report for possible abuse.
8.3 Immunity for Child Abuse Reporting. Health care practitioners who are required to report
allegations of child abuse are immune from civil suits or liability for making their required
reports. They may not be sued either for the report or for the violation of the confidentiality
privilege. Specific statutes provide for the immunity for civil suits and also provide an
exception to the confidentiality privilege. Others, including attorney Parenting Coordinators,
are also immune from prosecution, civil suits, or liability for good-faith reporting of
suspected child abuse.
9. Stipulation as to Resolution of Disputes with the Parenting Coordinator
9.1 The parties, in consenting to entry of this order, stipulate and agree that they will make every
effort to resolve disputes they may have with the Parenting Coordinator regarding any
recommendations or actions arising out of performance of the role of Parenting Coordinator in
9.2 Neither party may complain about the Parenting Coordinator to any licensing board or file a
civil suit without first meeting and conferring with the Parenting Coordinator in an effort to
resolve the grievance. If no resolution is reached, the parties and the Parenting Coordinator
must attend a judicially supervised Settlement Conference on the Court’s regularly scheduled
Settlement Conference calendar before any action is undertaken in Court or with a licensing
9.3 Further, if either party files any form of complaint, suit or grievance against the Parenting
Coordinator, he/she agrees to fully compensate and reimburse the Parenting Coordinator for
her time and expenses incurred in defending any frivolous complaints ("frivolous" is defined
as a complaint that is dismissed as unfounded), including attorney fees.
10. Privilege Does Not Apply
10.1 The parties understand that the Parenting Coordinator is not acting as therapist or attorney to
the parties, and as such, no client-therapist relationship is established with the Parenting
Coordinator, and that communication is not privileged.
11. Notification and Information to Parenting Coordinator
11.1 This order shall not be entered until signed by the Parenting Coordinator.
11.2 Immediately after entry, counsel for the parties shall telephone the Parenting Coordinator to
provide notice of her appointment. Within seven days of entry, counsel shall mail the
Parenting Coordinator a true copy of this order.
11.4 If, after entry of this order, pleadings or orders related to custody or parenting issues are filed,
counsel shall mail copies to the Parenting Coordinator at the time of filing with the court.
12. Compensation of Parenting Coordinator
12.1 The Parenting Coordinator shall be compensated at the rate of $_____ per hour, except for
court preparation and appearances, which are billed at $______hour. Travel time to and from
court and other required appearances are billed at $_____per hour. Annual fee increases, if
any, shall automatically go into effect upon thirty (30) days’ advance notice to the parties.
12.2 Fees will be shared by the parties, with Plaintiff paying ____ percent and Defendant
paying ____ percent. Time spent in interviewing, report preparation, review of records and
correspondence, telephone conversation, travel, court preparation and any other time
invested in connection with serving as Parenting Coordinator will also be billed at the
12.3 The Parenting Coordinator will be reimbursed for any expenses she incurs in association
with her role as Parenting Coordinator. These costs may include, but are not limited to,
photocopies, messenger services, reading and responding to email correspondence, long
distance telephone and fax charges, express or certified mail costs, parking, tolls, mileage,
other travel expenses and for any other service.
12.4 Each of the parties shall pay a retainer of $_____ to the Parenting Coordinator within 5 days
of the filing of this Order. When the retainer balance falls below $_____, the parties shall
replenish the retainer. If for any reason, the parties fall behind and have a balance they shall
receive a __% finance charge.
12.5 Since the process of parenting coordination is not therapy no third party insurance reimbursement may
12.6 Each party shall pay the full fee for their own intake appointment, spouses intake and any coaching
12.7 Any emergencies shall be split at the discretion of the parenting coordinator
12.8 The fees for status memos, even non-compliance memos shall be equally shared.
12.9 The Parenting Coordinator shall not be required to perform additional services after all retainer
payments are exhausted, unless the parties agree to pay additional retainers.
12.10 The Parenting Coordinator shall not be required to perform any services until the retainers have been
12.11 If, a balance occurs, the parties shall pay the additional fees within ten (10) days of the receipt of
a bill sent for other services, as above. Any objection to the Parenting Coordinator’s bills must
be brought to her attention in writing within ten (10) business days of the billing date; otherwise,
the billing is deemed agreed to and collectable.
12.12 If arbitration proceedings or a legal action become necessary to enforce any provision of this
order, the non-prevailing party must pay any attorney fees and costs that are incurred. The Court
reserves jurisdiction in the family law action to enforce the provisions of this Consent Order.
12.13 If there is any retainer balance at the conclusion of the Parenting Coordinator's work, the
Parenting Coordinator shall return the balance to the parties when the Parenting Coordinator
deems the work complete.
12.14 The Parenting Coordinator shall report to the Court in writing, with a copy sent to both parties and
both counsel, concerning a party's apparent failure to cooperate in making such payments as are
or may become due under this Order, and the Court shall have the continuing authority under the
_________ Rules of Civil Procedure to sanction a party for non-cooperation.
12.15 A specific breakdown of fees, including court retainer requirements may be provided by the
12.16 The Parenting Coordinator has the discretion to charge the parties for appointments cancelled with
less than 24 hours notice to both the PC and the other parent.
12.17 The parenting coordinator may adjust the fee of each party based upon other circumstances
such as one party coming to joint meetings more than ten minutes late, for inappropriate
behavior and misuse of the time during their joint meetings, and other reasons deemed
appropriate by the parenting coordinator. The parenting coordinator shall have the right to
reallocate payment of her fees in her discretion, for example if she believes the need for
her services is attributable to the unreasonable conduct and/or intransigence of one party,
or if one party makes legitimate but disproportionate use of services.
13. Parenting Coordinator As Witness.
The Parenting Coordinator shall not be required to testify at any hearing, deposition or trial
between the parties, except under court order.
14. Term of Appointment
14.1 The Parenting Coordinator's term begins when the order has been signed by the judge and
retainer has been paid by each party. The term of this appointment shall be for a period of
24 months after this order is signed. This term may be extended for successive 12-month terms
with the consent of the parties and the Parenting Coordinator. No court order shall be required.
14.2 Written notice of parties’ intent not to extend the term shall be given prior to the beginning of
the next term, otherwise services continued to be performed by the Parenting Coordinator
beyond the term shall be subject to payment until written notice of intent not to extend the
term is received.
14.3 The Parenting Coordinator may consider any matters submitted to her prior to the expiration
of her term. The Parenting Coordinator shall, if appropriate in her opinion, issue a written
recommendation with regard to any matters under consideration at the time of expiration of
14.4 The parenting coordinator can be discharged by the Court or by the end of a term.
15. Parenting Coordinator’s Right to Withdraw
15.1 The Parenting Coordinator may resign for any reason at any time upon 30 days’ notice to both
15.2 The Parenting Coordinator reserves the right to withdraw at any time for non-payment of fees,
without 30 days’ notice as required elsewhere in this agreement. The parenting coordinator is
not obligated to prepare any documentation or reports if the fees have not been paid. The
Parenting Coordinator need not provide advance notice of resignation for non-
payment of fees, harassment by either party, or unreasonable, harassing or disrespectful
behavior of either attorney toward the Parenting Coordinator, who has sole authority to
designate it as such.
15.3 The Parenting Coordinator may issue a recommendation with regard to any matters under
consideration at the time of resignation or end of the Parenting Coordinator’s term.
15.4 If the Parenting Coordinator resigns, counsel for the parties shall attempt to agree on a
replacement. If they are unable to agree upon the next parenting coordinator then they
shall allow the current PC to select the replacement. The Parenting Coordinator
reserves the right to confer with any subsequent Parenting Coordinators, under any
circumstance, and bill for their time, to ensure continuity of care for the parties and child(ren)
prior to the commencement of the service of the new Parenting Coordinator.
16. Right to a Hearing
By their signatures below, the parties acknowledge their understanding that if either or
both object to a written recommendation by the Parenting Coordinator, they have the right
to a hearing on the disputed matter before the judge assigned to their case .
Attorney for Plaintiff Attorney for Defendant
Parenting Coordinator Date