Pursuant to Rule 74, A.R.F.L.P., the Court may appoint a neutral to assist parties in resolving, typically, post-dissolution parenting disagreements. In some cases, a Parenting Coordinator appointment may be apropos during the pendente lite phase following entry of temporary orders to assist parties in the conduct of their temporary parenting plan. The Parenting Coordinator mechanism is a form of ADR in which parties may present disagreements to the Court-appointed neutral in order to explore options available to resolve the issue(s) at hand. Ideally, a consensus might be reached as the Parenting Coordinator provides parties with information to allow parties to make informed decisions. However, if parties do not reach consensus, the Parenting Coordinator may submit recommendations to the Court. In its discretion, the Court may adopt, amend or reject the Parenting Coordinator recommendations and issue an interim Order accordingly. Parties have ten (10) days in which to file a written objection. If neither party objects, the Court’s interim Order becomes permanent. If either party objects, the Court may set a hearing.
Parties should be advised that the Parenting Coordinator forum is for the purpose of addressing parenting and child-related concerns. Substantial changes in parenting time, legal custody, and financial matters are beyond the authority of the Parenting Coordinator. The Parenting Coordinator may recommend that the Court take further action as to issues that could give rise to substantial changes in the overall parenting plan.