A PC appointed through the Massachusetts Probate and Family Court must follow the court’s order relative to the PC’s authority. Generally, the duties of a parenting coordinator include assisting the parties in amicably resolving disputes and reaching agreements about the implementation of and compliance with the court’s order regarding the parenting plan, including, but not limited to the following types of issues, as referenced in Standing Order 1-17:
- Minor changes or clarifications of the existing parenting plan;
- Exchanges of the child or children including the date, time, place, means of and responsibilities for transportation;
- Education or daycare issues, including school choice, tutoring, summer school, participation in special education testing and programs, before/after school care, and other educational decisions;
- Extracurricular and enrichment activities including camps and jobs after-school;
- Travel and passport arrangements for a child;
- Clothing, equipment, and personal possessions of the child or children;
- Details regarding communications with a child/children by a parent when not in that parent’s care;
- Role of and contact with significant others and extended family members;
- Mental health assessment and counseling for the child or children (referral to another professional, this is not completed by the PC);
- Psychological testing or other assessments for a child;
- Religious observances and education.
In addition to the above, a Massachusetts parenting coordinator may:
- Educate parents about making and implementing decisions that are in the best interest of the child or children;
- Help the parents develop guidelines for appropriate communications between each other;
- Suggest additional resources to help the parents; and
- Assist the parents in identifying and addressing patterns of behavior and developing parenting strategies to manage and reduce opportunities for conflict in an effort to reduce the amount of conflict to which the children are exposed.
What can’t a Massachusetts Parenting Coordinator Do?
A parenting coordinator may not facilitate an agreement between parents that would change legal custody from one party to another, or that would change the physical custody or parenting plan in a way that may result in a change in the amount of child support. Furthermore, a PC does not offer clients legal advice, or engage in therapy or counseling services.