Ohio Supreme Court Develops Parenting Coordination Toolkit

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In order to assist local courts in establishing parenting coordination programs, the Ohio Supreme Court Monday announced the availability of a Parenting Coordination Toolkit.

The toolkit includes a guide to assist courts in writing a local rule for parenting coordination, a sample local rule, appointment order, screening form, intake form, evaluation tools, and other resources, according to Jacqueline Hagerott, manager of the Dispute Resolution Section at the Supreme Court.

“The Supreme Court found it beneficial to provide local courts with resources needed to implement parenting coordination programs since the Rules of Superintendence for the Court of Ohio include requirements for courts that choose to use parenting coordination,” Hagerott said. She encouraged courts to download the sample local rule as a starting point. Hagerott said the toolkit will allow courts to start using parenting coordination sooner rather than later because it has everything needed to develop a program.

Rules setting the parameters of operating parenting coordination programs took effect April 1. Parenting coordination involves using a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process that can be ordered by a court in which a parenting coordinator assists families in implementing parental rights and responsibilities or companionship time orders.

The rules set forth definitions, the role and qualifications of a parenting coordinator, and the responsibilities of the court to adopt local rules governing the use of parenting coordination, confidentiality, privilege, and public access. The rules also include factors necessary for ordering parenting coordination; required conditions when domestic abuse or domestic violence is alleged, suspected, or present; and inappropriate uses of parenting coordination.

Hagerott said local courts are already using parenting coordination to resolve disputes. The aim in adopting standardized rules is to ensure courts use qualified individuals, to assist courts in creating high-quality programs, and to promote consistency among the different programs throughout Ohio.