Canada: Parenting Coordination After Divorce – It's Kids' Stuff!

Last Updated: July 23 2019
Article by R. Craig Neville

Separation and divorce are hard enough on you kids. You shouldn't also have to worry about how your parents are going to cooperate on ongoing parenting issues after everything else is settled. There is a good chance one or both of them aren't feeling very happy about the outcome of the divorce. Worst case scenario, you become the focal point for addressing their frustrations about the situation in which they find themselves.

You may or may not have been asked for your input on what should happen regarding parenting plans. Research suggests that very few parents actually sit down with you to talk about the separation and the reasons for it, so you may even be in the dark about where you are going to live. Parenting issues have probably been resolved without a lot of input from you. What people don't always realize is, after the divorce, things sometimes get even worse.

Things sometimes get worse after divorce

It can be flattering to have your parents fighting over who gets to spend more time with you, but that novelty can wear off fast. If you aren't careful, the fallout can be resentment from a parent who is feeling short-changed. As a kid, what are you supposed to do? It can create confusion or even chaos when you find yourself telling your parents what you think they want to hear, just to make each of them happy. This can include guessing what they want to hear about:

  • How much time you want to spend with each of them
  • School issues
  • The activities in which you want to participate
  • How you want to spend your free time

They may even ignore what they don't want to hear, which can leave you feeling unheard and alone.

Parenting issues are supposed to be addressed with the sole focus on your best interests. You can appreciate that "your best interests" is a bit ambiguous, and even loving parents can totally disagree on whether ballet or hockey is "in your best interests".

So what to do? How do you get heard? An option in British Columbia which has now been in place for about 10 years is Parenting Coordination.

What is Parenting Coordination?

Parenting Coordination is an alternate dispute resolution process that blends mediation and arbitration to assist families with the implementation of their parenting plans.

Parents who have separated, and have an interim or final parenting plan in place, can retain a specially trained senior family lawyer or mental health professional to assist with implementation of the parenting plan where there are concerns about cooperation on parenting issues in the future.

A written agreement is required since it will govern the role and responsibilities of the Parenting Coordinator and the expectations of your parents. The agreement is normally for one or two year's duration and can be renewed. Parenting Coordinators address all issues related to raising you, with some exceptions.

Parenting Coordinators cannot:

  • change your guardianship
  • change the allocation of your parents' parenting responsibilities
  • give parenting time or contact with you to a person who does not already have that time with you
  • substantially change the time each of your parents spend with you
  • address your relocation to another town or city

What Parenting Coordinators do is watch for conflict, promote better communication between your parents, and help out with issues when asked to do so because of a disagreement. Loving parents can still disagree, and absent this kind of resource, can be left without remedies other than going to court. This can be expensive and time consuming, not to mention stressful!

Going to court after divorce

Just so you know, in the event that your parents decide to go to court over an unresolved issue, they will have to appear before a judge who doesn't know you and who will have to make a decision without a lot of background or input from any of you. In contrast, the Parenting Coordinator gets to know you, becomes familiar with you and your parents, and is generally available by email or phone to address issues without a lot of delay.

Avoid delays

There will generally be a delay in getting to court, which gives a problem time to get worse. Delays can be especially problematic when you have to book camps, schedule activities, go to the dentist or the doctor, or arrange for consents to travel on vacation or for school trips. Going to court is not always an option and so you can lose out on opportunities. A Parenting Coordinator can make decisions quickly and minimize lost opportunities for you to have access to all kinds of adventures!

When agreements can't be reached

When an issue arises, Parenting Coordinators try to reach an agreement between your parents through mediation, but if that isn't possible, and a binding decision is required, those decisions can be made promptly and shared with your parents by email.

More importantly, the determinations Parenting Coordinators make are binding, as if they are court orders, so your parents are obliged to comply with them or apply to court to set them aside or vary them – and that doesn't happen very often.

Best of all, if your parents have a Parenting Coordinator but don't need to use them, they don't pay anything for the service (and so there may be more money left to pay for your university education!).

Retaining a Parenting Coordinator can be compared to keeping a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. It is comforting to know it's there and you hope you never have to use it. But if you do, it's nice to have it handy because kitchen fires can quickly get out of control.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Devry Smith Frank LLP
In association with
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Devry Smith Frank LLP
Related Articles
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions