When parents have an acrimonious relationship post separation, a court can impose- or the parties can agree- that they will retain a parenting coordinator to mediate, govern and make ongoing decisions about co-parenting. While this seems like a reasonable choice to make when the alternative is to keep taking custody and access matters back in front of a judge, you’ve also got to consider whether you can afford the ongoing costs of having a parenting coordinator.
Like any other professional, the fees of a parenting coordinator can add up quickly, particularly if it’s intended that the parenting coordinator’s involvement with the parties will be ongoing and permanent. A recent British Columbia case underscores the financial impact it can have when parties use a parenting coordinator to manage their co-parenting.
In Scott v. Kallur, a parenting coordinator sued the separated parents in order to recover his fees of $70,000. The parents had signed a standard agreement with the coordinator, whereby they agreed to pay his fees at a rate of $300.00 per hour. The judge ruled that the matter could not be resolved at a summary trial because the amount of the fees was so high while the explanation provided for the fees by the parenting coordinator was inadequate.
In making the decision, the judge suggested that it may be preferable, from a costs standpoint, for courts to issue ‘multidirectional’ orders, rather than relying on parenting coordination. A ‘multidirectional’ order is highly structured and detailed. It limits potential disagreement in the future by spelling absolutely everything out. The idea here is that the fewer matters are left up in the air, the less likely there will be ongoing conflict between the parties.