PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION RESOLUTION SUPPORTING PROPOSED AMENDMENTS TO PENNSYLVANIA RULES OF CIVIL PROCEDURE GOVERNING PARENT COORDINATION
WHEREAS, Parenting Coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process in which an attorney with appropriate qualifications (as defined in the Proposed Rule) assists in resolving minor custody disputes, first by attempting to help parties mediate their disputes; but, if no resolution is possible, by making recommendations to the Court about such issues; and
WHEREAS, without a Parenting Coordination program in place, custody litigants (particularly those in high conflict cases) must often litigate even minor issues, such as trading custody time for holidays or vacations, choosing locations for custody exchanges, and choice of extracurricular activities for their children; and
WHEREAS, many of these minor issues are time sensitive issues which often cannot be resolved in a timely manner by the Court system and the lack of resolution often serves to increase the level of conflict between the parties; and
WHEREAS, the pursuit of a court remedy creates family financial hardships, and requires parents to take time off from their jobs, which could be in jeopardy due to absences from the workplace; and
WHEREAS, Parenting Coordination offers litigants access to a process which permits them to quickly air their grievances, and obtain timely resolution to their issues; and
WHEREAS, through the use of a Parenting Coordinator, who will use his or her mediation skills in helping parties self direct the resolution of their own differences, parents will become more adept at having meaningful resolution oriented discussions, thus alleviating the need for court intervention or further Parenting Coordination in the future; and
WHEREAS, diverting these issues out of the judicial system frees up valuable court time for other litigants so that other family law issues can also be handled by the Court more expeditiously; and
WHEREAS, the Philadelphia Bar Association supports Parenting Coordination and on May 26, 2011, the Board of Governors unanimously adopted a resolution opposing state legislation to ban the appointment of Parenting Coordinators in custody disputes; and
WHEREAS, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee has proposed Recommendation 155, calling for amendments to Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure, Rule 1915.11-1, allowing for judicial appointment of a Parenting Coordinator to resolve parenting issues in cases involving repeated or intractable conflict between the parties affecting implementation of the final custody order; and
WHEREAS, Recommendation 155 acknowledges the role that the judiciary has in the custody process, with proposed amendments to Rule 1915.11-1 mandating that the appointing judge maintain a supervisory role over the recommendations of the Parenting Coordinator; and
WHEREAS, Recommendation 155 calls for the adoption of a standard form order for appointing a Parenting Coordinator and a standard form for the recommendation of the Parenting Coordinator, providing a uniform practice across the Commonwealth.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association supports the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee's Recommendation 155, attached hereto, including proposed amendments to Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure Rule 1915.11-1, governing Parenting Coordination, and the addition of a standard form order for the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator and a standard form for the recommendation of the Parenting Coordinator.
AND BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Philadelphia Bar Association authorizes and directs the Chancellor or the Chancellor's designee to communicate the position of the Philadelphia Bar Association to the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee and to take such other steps as may be necessary to effectuate this Resolution.
PHILADELPHIA BAR ASSOCIATION
BOARD OF GOVERNORS
ADOPTED: February 16, 2017