Encounters        (continued from page 1)

The Family Law Act which is due to be implemented in March 2013, has a section under Division 3, Section 14 to 19 which sets out the role of the PC, the authority of the PC to make binding decisions and determinations if and when filed, and if these decisions are filed with the Court they become enforceable as if they were Court Orders. The new legislation means that Parenting Coordination will enjoy a level of credibility never before seen in the Province and we anticipate that PC’s will be utilized more and more with the passage of time. Currently PC’s are authorized to act under the Commercial Arbitration Act and Family Relations Act where they are given authority by consent of the parties or by the Court.

The Parenting Coordination process typically starts with individual meetings with each of the parents and an orientation where the parents are informed about the parameters of their involvement with the PC. Parenting Coordinators don’t usually become involved with the family until a parenting plan has been established as a result of a Court Order or by consent of the parties. The parenting plan typically outlines custody, guardianship, parenting time and any number of issues including child support and extraordinary expenses. After an orientation, parties will sign a PC agreement which outlines in detail a number of issues, including the role of the PC, the scope of the authority of the PC that is, issues and matters that the PC can rule on and deal with, that there is no confidentiality between the parties, neither party can unilaterally withdraw from the PC process, rules on fees and retainers and lastly the period of time that the PC is retained which typically ranges from 6 months to 2 years. PC’s on the BC Parenting Coordinator Roster are senior lawyers and mental health professionals with a minimum of 10 years’ experience in dealing with family law cases.