parenting coordinator

SJC Decision Regarding Parent Coordinators: What You Need to Know

I was in my office last week when I heard shrieks of joy coming from down the hall. (We really should have a bell or something we ring for a big win – this yelling is so unprofessional.) My colleagues Sue Stenger, Francine Gardikas, Laura StudenRobin Lynch Nardone and Andrea Dunbar had just gotten the SJC decision on the case on parent coordinators. Here is Robin’s take on what that case means for families and children in Massachusetts.



On September 15, 2014 the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) decided a case of first impression on the issue of whether a court can appoint a Parenting Coordinator. A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a mental health professional or legal professional who assists high-conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes. In Bower v. Bournay-Bower, the Probate and Family Court appointed a PC even though the mother did not want a PC and objected to the judge’s suggestion that one was warranted in this case.

Over the mother’s objection, the court appointed a PC with authority to make binding decisions on matters of custody and visitation. The Order provided … Keep reading