All Things Family Law

Discussion of all things related to family law from an Indiana divorce attorney.

This blog provides general family law and divorce law information. If you have a specific issue or case you need assistance with please contact me directly. 

Parenting Coordinator Can Be Ordered By The Court, Without Agreement

We've written about Parenting Coordinators ("PC") in previous posts.  A PC "may facilitate a decision regarding visitation." Bacon v. Bacon, 877 N.E.2d 801, 804 (Ind. Ct. App. 2007). The Court of Appeals has stated that "a parent coordinator serves a role akin to that of an expert witness who reviews information relevant to the case and develops an opinion to be accepted or rejected by the trial court." 887 N.E.2d at 983. Authority for ordering a PC is found in the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines as a court may direct action to force compliance with parenting time requirements. Ind. Parenting Time Guideline I 6 (A) –(C).

Since there is no specific statute dealing with PC's, many trial courts have declined ordering a PC unless both parents agree one is needed.  The courts reasoned that they did not have authority to order a PC absent an agreement.  However, this requirement often stopped the PC before it could start, because one of the reasons parents need a PC is because they don't often agree on things.

The Indiana Court of Appeals held that a trial court can order a PC, even if there is no agreement between the parents.  In a new case the Court of Appeals reasoned that "[w]hen considering the spirit and intent of the Guidelines, the ongoing communication difficulties that Mother and Father have had regarding the parenting time schedule, and Mother’s approval of the trial court’s decision to appoint the Parent Coordinator, we conclude that the trial court did not err in appointing the parent coordinator".

With the new case, expect to see more motions requesting appointment of parenting coordinators. Here is a link to an Indiana Parenting Coordinator Guide.

The review or transmission of information at this site is not legal advice and does not establish an attorney-client relationship.   All data and information provided on this site is for informational purposes only. I make no representations as to accuracy, completeness, currentness, suitability, or validity of any information on this site and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. Should you be seeking legal advice, I recommend you retain an attorney. Please contact me  here.