SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

 
vol.18 issue2The regulation of market manipulation in Australia: A historical comparative perspectiveExploring the cultural dimensions of the right to the highest attainable standard of health author indexsubject indexarticles search
Home Pagealphabetic serial listing  

PER: Potchefstroomse Elektroniese Regsblad

On-line version ISSN 1727-3781

PER vol.18 n.2 Potchefstroom  2015

http://dx.doi.org/10.4314/PELJ.V18I2.04 

Suggested safeguards and limitations for effective and permissible parenting coordination (facilitation or case management) in South Africa

 

 

M de Jong

BLC LLB (UP) LLD (UNISA). Professor of Private Law, UNISA, South Africa. Admitted attorney. SAAM-accredited mediator. E-mail: djongm1@unisa.ac.za

 

 


SUMMARY

With the advent of the Children's Act 38 of 2005 greater emphasis was placed on the importance of both parents' involvement in their children's day-to-day lives. An unintended negative consequence of an otherwise laudable shift in social policy which supported a shared parental involvement was that the courts became the forum for co-parents to dispute a lot of day-to-day issues in respect of their children. To alleviate the negative effects of high-conflict co-parenting cases on our court system and the children of divorce, a new alternative dispute resolution process, namely parenting coordination, was introduced. The new process was not labelled as such, but became known as facilitation in the Western Cape, and as case management in Gauteng. Parenting coordination is a legal-psychological hybrid intervention that derives from the practice of the courts. It has the potential to provide substantial benefits for divorcing or separating parties, their children and the court system. Since its inception a few years ago, parenting coordination has steadily grown in popularity as an alternative dispute resolution tool in South Africa. Overhasty implementation of parenting coordination without considering certain concerns could, however, damage the "brand" and lead to confusion about the process. In the first place the difference in nomenclature is a real problem. Secondly, the training and qualifications of parenting coordinators are problematic and even non-existent in most provinces. Thirdly, it is argued by sceptics that parenting coordination is impermissible and constitutes an improper delegation of judicial authority in circumstances where the parenting coordinator is appointed in a court order and not in terms of an Act or court rule or by agreement between the parties. It is further observed that parenting coordination amounts to arbitration in contravention of section 2 of the Arbitration Act 42 of 1965, which currently prohibits the use of arbitration in respect of matrimonial matters. Lastly, the cost of parenting coordination is indicated as an area of contention. To properly address these problems, various safeguards for and limitations on parenting coordination practice are considered. It is proposed that the internationally accepted term "parenting coordination" is also consistently used in South Africa. It is further proposed that adequate qualifications, proper training and sufficient experience for parenting coordinators are set. To counter the argument that parenting coordination is an unlawful delegation of judicial power, the necessary authority for courts to refer parties for parenting coordination is sought, firstly in the inherent power of the High Court as upper guardian to ensure the best interests of children, and secondly in the Children's Act and the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 as far as the children's court and divorce courts are concerned. In addition, various limitations regarding the conditions under which and the stage at which a parenting coordinator should be appointed, the scope of a parenting coordinator's decision-making powers and the finality of his or her directives are suggested. Lastly, the issue of the affordability of parenting coordination is addressed and suggestions are made on ways to provide fair access to this new intervention.

Keywords: Parenting coordination, facilitation, case management, alternative dispute resolution, divorce, family breakdown, shared parenting, Children's Act 38 of 2005, high-conflict co-parenting cases, negative consequences of divorce on children, advantages of parenting coordination, best interests of children, parenting plan, problems with parenting coordination, training and qualifications of parenting coordinators, practice standards for parenting coordinators, unlawful delegation of judicial power, limitations on parenting coordination, decision-making powers, arbitration, directives, judicial review, affordability of parenting coordination


 

 

1 Introduction

For very good reasons parenting coordination, although not labelled as such, has rapidly developed abroad and in South Africa as an alternative dispute resolution process for resolving parenting issues of chronically conflicted or high-conflict divorced or separated parties. If practiced effectively, parenting coordination has the potential to provide substantial benefits for divorcing or separating parties, their children and the court system. The reasons for the development of parenting coordination and the benefits it offers will be elucidated in the following pages.1

As parenting coordination has been implemented in haste and in an unsystematic and uncoordinated fashion, it has given rise to considerable confusion and both ethical and practice dilemmas. The current problems with parenting coordination in South Africa are therefore examined in the second part of this article.2

To ensure that its benefits are maximised, it is imperative to give immediate and incisive attention to the foundation, parameters and standardisation of this new and innovative dispute resolution process. In this regard this article will address issues such as the incorrect and inconsistent use of terminology, the lack of training, standardised qualification requirements and practice standards for parenting coordinators, the question of whether parenting coordination is an unlawful delegation of judicial power, the question of whether parenting coordination amounts to arbitration, and the funding of the parenting coordination services for low-income families.

In conclusion, an appeal is sounded for a national education campaign on parenting coordination and the possibility is raised that new legislation may be required to properly regulate this new intervention.

 

2 Background

2.1 The development of parenting coordination

With the advent of the Children's Act 38 of 2005 greater emphasis was placed on the importance of both parents' involvement in their children's day-to-day lives.3 Section 30(2) read with section 31(2)(a) of the Act, for example, imposes a duty on the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights to consult each other before making major decisions involving their children. In terms of section 33(1) and (2) these co-parents are further expected to agree on and enter into a parenting plan which is to regulate their respective responsibilities and rights in respect of their children, including where and with whom the child is to live, the maintenance of the child, contact between the child and either of the parties or third persons, and the schooling and religious upbringing of the child.4 However, even before the coming into operation of the Children's Act it was foreseen that section 30(2) would probably lead to many disputes between co-parents when one parent considers a decision in respect of a child to be relatively unimportant, which can be made without consulting the other co-parent, and the other sees it as a major decision on which he or she should have been consulted.5 Furthermore, although parenting plans are supposed to specify in detail the terms governing the post-divorce parenting arrangements, these plans are often not sufficiently specific, thus resulting in frequent disputes between co-parents.6 It is also a fact that no parenting plan, no matter how detailed it may be, can anticipate every situation that will arise. For example, a parenting plan that appeared to contemplate and address every opportunity for conflict when the children were three and five years old will not necessarily contemplate and resolve every opportunity for conflict when those children are 13 and 15.7 An unintended negative consequence of an otherwise laudable shift in social policy which supported shared parental involvement has therefore been that the courts became the forum for these co-parents to dispute a lot of day-to-day issues in respect of their children.8 As the adversarial system of litigation9 tends to escalate conflict, diminish the possibility of civility between parents and exacerbate the win-lose atmosphere that encourages bitterness and parental irresponsibility,10 many of these co-parents became repeated litigants who consume a disproportionate amount of the court's time and resources.11 Besides creating heavy workloads for our courts, high-conflict separated and divorced parents also annoy attorneys with their recurrent and untimely disputes about issues such as weekend pick-up times, holiday schedules and telephone access to children at the other parent's home.12 But worst of all, the ongoing co-parenting conflict has had a very negative impact on children.13 It is said that the most dominant factor in a child's psychological and social adjustment after a divorce is not necessarily the divorce itself but rather the frequency and intensity of the parental conflict prior to, during and after the divorce.14 Children's exposure to inter-parental conflict can result in problems such as perpetual emotional turmoil, depression, substance abuse, and educational failure.15 They also suffer when their parents cannot make timely, child-focused decisions on issues that affect them.16 It has therefore become essential to alleviate the negative effects of high-conflict co-parenting cases on our court system and the children of divorce.

Although mediation has gone some way towards alleviating the negative effects of high-conflict co-parenting issues, it seems to be ineffective for the most chronically conflicted co-parents, who are unwilling to compromise and inclined to triangulate their children into their conflict.17 Consequently, a new alternative dispute resolution process, namely parenting coordination, was introduced as a solution for these chronically high-conflict cases. The new process was not initially labelled as such, but became known as facilitation in the Western Cape18 and case management in Gauteng.19 For simplicity, the use of the term "parenting coordination" in this article is meant to apply to both facilitation and case management.20

Parenting coordination is an intervention that is derived from the practice of the courts.21 Although it has its roots in the fields of parent education and coaching, mediation, arbitration, co-parent counselling and case management,22 it should not be seen as any of these more familiar alternative dispute resolution processes, but rather as a legal-psychological hybrid.23 Parenting coordination can be defined as a child-centred process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high-conflict co-parents in creating or implementing parenting plans, complying with court orders and resolving pre- and post-divorce parenting disputes in an immediate, non-adversarial, court-sanctioned, private forum.24 A parenting coordinator (PC) will first attempt to facilitate resolution of the parenting disputes by agreement of the parties, and if this attempt fails, the PC will have the power to make decisions or directives regarding the disputes, which will be binding on the parties until a competent court directs otherwise or the parties jointly agree otherwise.25 It is apparent that a PC's role includes the multiple functions of assessment, parent education, coaching, facilitation, intensive case management, mediation and decision-making.26 PCs must therefore be able to use interdisciplinary interventions rather than focusing solely on techniques from their own area of professional practice.27 They have to assess the situation; educate the parents regarding child development, family dynamics and the harm their ongoing conflict is doing to their children; facilitate communication between the parties and with others involved with their children; monitor and oversee the case inter alia by referring the parties to other professionals;28 mediate the disputes; and issue decisions or directives where the parties cannot reach an agreement.29 Nevertheless, it is a core principle of the parenting coordination process that PCs remain as impartial as possible in the eyes of the parties.30

The primary purpose of parenting coordination is to reduce the negative impact of high-conflict parenting disputes on children and to protect and sustain safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships.31 It appears that the best way to achieve this objective is to move conflicted co-parents into parallel co-parenting, which is characterised by low engagement between co-parents.32 As conflict is dependent on engagement, lowering co-parents' engagement with each other also lowers the opportunity for conflict.33 For this reason PCs are more likely to interact with clients by telephone and e-mail, which do not require the face-to-face sessions used in dispute resolution interventions such as mediation.34 In this way, PCs work on building and initially being the functional link between the co-parents.35 The realistic goals of the parenting coordination process are therefore not the resolution of the underlying parental psychopathology, but the management of high conflict.36

Since its inception a few years ago, parenting coordination has steadily grown in popularity as an alternative dispute resolution tool in South Africa. In some divisions of the High Court a PC is appointed as a matter of course during the finalisation of all divorce matters where children are involved, while in other divisions a PC is appointed only in matters that are chronically litigious and difficult to manage.37

Parenting coordination is currently also practised in Israel, Spain, more than thirty states in the USA, and several provinces in Canada.38

2.2 The benefits of parenting coordination

Parenting coordination has the potential to provide substantial benefits for divorcing or separating parties, their children and the court system.

For the high-conflict parents, who are often faced with the impossibility of obtaining a timeous court decision on day-to-day parenting issues, parenting coordination provides a timely means of dispute resolution.39 In litigation the parties may not have an opportunity to appear before a judge before it is too late to resolve a matter in dispute, such as a one-time change to the visitation schedule for an imminent holiday. By the time the court reaches a decision it may be meaningless.40 A PC, however, can give these parents prompter attention and help them to make decisions expeditiously or, where they are unable to do so, can quickly make a directive on the issue.41 A PC is also much more accessible than a judge and less expensive than litigation.42 In many instances the parenting coordination process is therefore superior to litigation. Furthermore, although the resolution of the underlying parental psychopathology per se is not a goal of parenting coordination, in many instances the process trains the co-parents in the long run to be more functional when addressing child-related issues.43 It appears that the different phases of the parenting coordination process equip these parents with integrated tools and skills for resolving their parenting (and even other) disputes more constructively.44 The findings of research which explored the degree to which the number of court applications changed one year after parenting coordination was implemented with high-conflict co-parenting parties indicate that these parties do in fact file significantly fewer court applications when utilising the services of a PC.45 It can therefore be said that the parenting coordination process educates the parents in ways to avoid or resolve future conflicts on their own.46 Lastly, parents who participated in parenting coordination reported satisfaction with the process and less conflict with the other parent.47

The fact that parenting coordination reduces high-conflict co-parents' excessive use of litigation simultaneously has a positive effect on the court system. As parenting coordination reduces the amount of court resources and court time spent on highconflict parenting cases, it significantly decreases the costs that these parents impose on the court system.48 It also reduces the backlog in the courts' case loads and increases access to court time for other cases in need.49 Very importantly, parenting coordination further prevents the court system from becoming a type of social service agency, which has to deal with the day-to-day issues of co-parents.50 In addition, parenting coordination may relieve attorneys of some of their "most nightmarish cases".51

But most importantly, as parenting coordination lessens the conflict between their parents, it reduces the harmful effects of parental discord on children.52 It allows for a more harmonious, or at least a less hostile environment for children.53 Mental health professionals have also reported better post-divorce adjustment for children where a PC is involved with their parents.54 It is apparent that it is in the best interests of children for their divorced parents to amicably and quickly resolve parenting conflicts as they arise.55

 

3 Problems with parenting coordination in South Africa

The overhasty implementation of parenting coordination without considering certain concerns, pitfalls and difficulties could damage the "brand", lead to confusion about the process and diminish the opportunity for high-conflict co-parents, their children and the judicial system to reap the many benefits of this evolving intervention.56 It is therefore necessary to identify the problems currently experienced with parenting coordination.

In the first place the difference in nomenclature is a real problem. It makes no sense that essentially the same intervention is called facilitation in the Western Cape and case management in Gauteng. This has indeed led to discordant expectations of the process by parties, attorneys and judges, and disparate parenting coordination practices that are eroding the integrity of the intervention. Similar problems were experienced in the United States,57 where initially the terminology used for parenting coordination in the various jurisdictions differed from one jurisdiction to the next.58There, the inconsistent terminology has been found to pose the risk of board complaints and civil lawsuits against PCs, presumably because the inconsistency caused parties to misunderstand the role.59

Secondly, the training and qualifications of PCs are problematic and even non-existent in most provinces. It appears from the website of the Family Mediators' Association of the Cape (FAMAC) that facilitators are trained by this association.60 However, no details of the training programme could be found on the website to ascertain which fields or components are covered by such facilitation training. Furthermore, no indication of any parenting coordination, facilitation or case management training could be found on the websites of any of the other South African mediation organisations, such as the South African Association of Mediators (SAAM) and the Kwazulu-Natal Association of Family Mediators (KAFam).61 It seems that mediators affiliated to these associations practise as PCs, facilitators or case managers from time to time without any specific training in this new and difficult hybrid role, which requires both mental health and legal skills.62 A related and additional problem is the fact that there are no practice standards specifically for PCs in South Africa.

Thirdly, it is argued by sceptics that parenting coordination is impermissible and constitutes an improper delegation of judicial authority in circumstances where the PC is appointed in a court order and not in terms of an Act or court rule or by agreement between the parties. This opinion was expressed by Sutherland J in the unreported South Gauteng High Court case, Hummel v Hummel,63where a father's application for the appointment of a case manager to deal with and make decisions about certain post-divorce parenting conflicts between him and his former wife was denied. The judge observed that in his view no court has the jurisdictional competence to appoint a third party to make decisions about parenting for a pair of parents who are holders of parental responsibilities and rights as contemplated in sections 30 and 31 of the Children's Act.64He also felt that the appointment of a decision-maker to break deadlocks is a delegation of the court's power which constitutes an impermissible act65and amounts to an arbitration of sorts.66 These observations are probably based on section 165(1) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996, which provides that the judicial authority of the Republic is vested in the courts, and section 2 of the Arbitration Act 42 of 1965, which currently prohibits the use of arbitration in respect of matrimonial and related matters.

Lastly, the cost of parenting coordination is indicated as an area of contention.67 PCs charge professional fees for the (rather intense) services they render and the question is what is to be done where high-conflict co-parents, who clearly need parenting coordination, cannot afford this intervention.

 

4 Suggested safeguards for and limitations on parenting coordination

To properly address the problems identified above, various safeguards for and limitations on parenting coordination practice need to be considered.

4.1 Terminology

In the United States of America a special task force of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), which was commissioned to study the new legal-psychological hybrid role, adopted the term "parenting coordination" in an effort to create a unifying term for this role.68 This term has now become fairly standardised in the United States69 as well as in Canada.70 It is proposed that the internationally accepted term "parenting coordination" should also be used in South Africa. As parenting coordination is still an evolving field, the consistent use of the term "parenting coordination" is advisable for the sake of the continuity and comprehensiveness of professional role development and consistency of practice across South Africa.71 The current labels "facilitation" and "case management" are too narrow in any case, as each of them describes only one of the many functions of a PC.72 In a legal opinion obtained from senior counsel by FAMAC with regard to facilitation in the Western Cape the use of a term other than "facilitation" was recommended.73 Therefore, to uphold the integrity of the intervention, judges, attorneys, psychologists and parenting coordination practitioners are all urged to start using the unifying term "parenting coordination".

4.2 Qualifications, training and experience of PCs, and practice standards

To be able to bestow the full benefits of parenting coordination on divorcing or separating parties, their children and the court system,74 PCs must have adequate qualifications, proper training and sufficient experience.75

As far as their qualifications are concerned, it appears that internationally PCs are required to be licenced or accredited mental health professionals, physicians, legal practitioners or family law mediators.76 Because of the hybrid legal-psychological nature of parenting coordination and the fact that it is such an intensive and comprehensive intervention,77 the typical psychologist or family law attorney - or even the typical family law mediator - is probably not qualified to serve as a PC. It is clear that PCs need additional training to practise at the interface of the fields of law and psychology.78

As far as such additional training is concerned, PCs who are not yet accredited as family mediators should first complete a basic 40-hour mediation training programme and obtain accreditation from one of the recognised mediation organisations.79 In addition, a PC should have specific training in parenting coordination, which should focus inter alia on the role and responsibilities of a PC; the cognitive and emotional shifts required to integrate new or different functions; family law; family dynamics in separation and divorce; developmental psychology; family systems theory and application; professional practice guidelines for PCs; issues that are appropriate and inappropriate for parenting coordination; the parenting coordination process; appropriate practice boundaries; the drafting, monitoring and modifying of parenting plans; appropriate techniques for handling high-conflict parents, child alienation and domestic violence issues; when and how to use outside experts effectively; when and how to interface with the court system; grievance procedures; and possible ethical dilemmas.80 It is clear that such comprehensive parenting coordination training is not something that can merely be provided at conference workshops and one- or two-day training seminars. In the province of British Columbia in Canada, for example, a PC is required by legislation to complete a minimum of 40 hours of specific parenting coordination training.81 Mediation organisations in South Africa are therefore advised to follow suit and immediately start overseeing the development of such comprehensive parenting coordination training programmes in addition to basic mediation training programmes. Furthermore, training models that equip aspiring PCs with the ability to observe and be observed by experienced PCs in a university or institute setting are seen as essential in the development of parenting coordination practice.82

As far as experience is concerned, a PC should have extensive practical experience with high-conflict families. Some foreign jurisdictions require at least 18 years' practice experience,83 while locally it seems that at least three years' practical experience would be sufficient.84 It is advisable, however, that those three years should be three years post accreditation as a family mediator.85 (In this regard, just as an interesting aside, it appears from a study of PCs in North Carolina who have fulfilled statutory requirements for practice that their average age is 57.)86

Minimum practice standards that need to be set for PCs are, firstly, that a PC must enter into a written agreement to provide parenting coordination services with parties before the commencement of the process;87 secondly, that he or she must provide confirmation to the parties in the agreement88 that he or she has the necessary qualifications, training and experience to serve as a PC;89 and thirdly that he or she must set out the basis and parameters of his or her authority in the agreement.90

4.3 The question of whether parenting coordination is an unlawful delegation of judicial power

To counter the argument that parenting coordination is an unlawful delegation of judicial power in circumstances where a PC's role is dependent on a court order and not on an Act, a court rule or an agreement between the parties, the necessary authority for parenting coordination first needs to be found. In addition, appropriate limitations need to be imposed on the PC's role to incrementally diminish the argument that the appointment is an improper delegation of judicial authority.91

4.3.1 Finding authority for courts to refer parties for parenting coordination

As parenting coordination differs from mediation in many respects,92 it follows that existing laws permitting a court to send a matter to mediation, such as section 33(2) read with section 33(5) of the Children's Act 93 or the recently published court-annexed mediation rules,94 would not suffice as the necessary authority for a court to appoint a PC for high-conflict co-parents.

Nonetheless, it is argued that where a court has some inherent authority to ensure the best interests of children, parenting coordination could be sustained.95 Our High Court, which is the upper guardian of all children,96 may therefore make any decision that is in the best interest of children, including appointing a PC for their high-conflict parents so as to minimise the negative impact of the conflict on the children.97 As far as the divorce court or the children's court is concerned, section 29(1) of the Children's Act confers jurisdiction upon these courts in respect of matters such as parental responsibilities and rights agreements, court-assigned contact, care and guardianship and the suspension, termination, extension or circumscription of parental responsibilities and rights. Section 45(1) has further substantially broadened the jurisdiction of the children's court and section 45(3) has placed a divorce court more or less on a par with the High Court in respect of children's issues. In all these matters these courts are obliged in terms of section 9 of the Children's Act and section 28(2) of the Constitution to apply the standard that the child's best interest is of paramount importance. In addition, there are several provisions in the Children's Act that could possibly be relied upon in support of the appointment of a PC in circumstances where the children's best interests require such an appointment. For example, in terms of section 2(d), it is one of the objects of the Act to make provision for structures, services and means for promoting and monitoring the sound physical, psychological, intellectual, emotional and social development of children; in terms of section 6(2)(a), all proceedings, actions or decisions in a matter concerning a child must respect, protect, promote and fulfil the child's rights set out in the Bill of Rights and the best interests of the child standard; in terms of section 6(4)(a), in any matter concerning a child, an approach which is conducive to conciliation and problem-solving should be followed and a confrontational approach should be avoided; in terms of section 7(1)(n) one of the factors that must be taken into consideration whenever a provision of the Act requires the best interests of the child standard to be applied is which action or decision would avoid or minimise further legal or administrative proceedings in relation to the child.98 Furthermore, Retired Judge Goldstein is of the opinion that sections 23 and 28, dealing with court-assigned contact and care to interested persons and the extension and suspension of parental responsibilities and rights respectively, are wide enough to encompass the court's power to appoint a third person in loco parentis with decision-making powers.99 His argument is therefore that parenting coordination is not so much a delegation of judicial authority but rather an extension of the parents' parental responsibilities and rights. In terms of these sections the PC will have to approach the court and it remains to be seen if he or she would indeed be regarded by the court as a person having a sufficient interest in the care, well-being or development of a child (before his or her appointment as a PC) as is required by these sections. Nonetheless, the message is clear - innovative measures to ensure children's best interests are encouraged. The appointment of a parenting coordinator by the court where parents would otherwise be engaged in frequent conflict and re-litigation would therefore surely be justified. Further support for the appointment of a PC could possibly be found in section 38 of the Constitution, which addresses the need for a court to craft a remedy for every right the Constitution confers.100 There is therefore ample authority for the appointment of a PC by our courts in lieu of an agreement between the parties to appoint a PC.

4.3.2 Appropriate limitations on a parenting coordinator's role

Even with a basis for authority for parenting coordination - either a court order or an agreement between the parties to appoint a PC - the role of the PC should further be appropriately limited so as not to usurp the court's judicial authority.101

A first limitation that should be imposed relates to the conditions under which a PC should be appointed. Where parties have consented to the appointment of a PC, their later grounds for objection to the appointment would probably not be well-founded.102It has also been found that the best results occur when both parties initially agreed to enter the parenting coordination process.103 In most Canadian provinces, for example, where it has generally also been accepted by courts that judges cannot make an order delegating their powers to a third party, PCs can be appointed by the court only if the parties consent thereto.104 There are, nonetheless, a minority of judges, especially in the province of Alberta, who are prepared to appoint a PC without the parties' consent.105 In addition, in British Columbia the new Family Law Act, 2011 expressly provides that a PC may be appointed either by agreement between the parties or by an order of court.106 This also seems to be the position in the United States of America, where some states strictly require consent from the parents,107 while other states allow judges to refer parties to parenting coordination either upon the agreement of the parties or upon the court's own motion.108 Therefore, although it is probably better for judges to obtain the agreement of the parents involved, rather than simply ordering them to go to parenting coordination,109 there are undoubtedly circumstances where a judge should have the discretion to appoint a PC without the parents' consent.110Such circumstances would include a finding that the parents are "high conflict" parties and/or that the appointment of a PC would be in the best interests of the children involved.111 Parents are said to be "high-conflict" parties where they have demonstrated "... their longer-term inability or unwillingness to make parenting decisions on their own, to comply with parenting agreements and orders, to reduce their child-related conflicts, and to protect their children from the impact of that conflict",112 or "... a pattern of ongoing litigation, anger and distrust, verbal abuse, physical aggression or threats of physical aggression, difficulty in communicating about and cooperating in the care of their children ...".113 The appointment of a PC would probably be in the best interests of children involved when a court has determined that those children would otherwise be exposed to chronic post-divorce parental conflict.114 Relevant conditions precedent to the appointment of a PC should therefore be either consent to the appointment or court findings that the parties are high-conflict or that the appointment is in the best interest of the children.115Interestingly, in this regard, parties in Texas are not allowed to agree on the appointment of a PC in the absence of a trial court finding that the parents are high-conflict parties or that the appointment of a PC would be in the best interests of the children involved. As parenting coordination should not be overused,116 this is perhaps the way to go.

The next limitation concerns the timing of the appointment of a PC. Here the question is whether a PC may be appointed before or only after a court has made a divorce order and a parenting plan has been finalised. In this regard it appears from the AFCC Task Force's Guidelines on Parenting Coordination that parenting coordination is proper only when there is already a parenting plan or court-ordered custody and visitation arrangement in place.117 The guidelines therefore limit the PC's role to the implementation of pre-existing court orders and parenting plans. These guidelines have been followed in some Canadian provinces118 and quite a number of states in the USA.119 However, there are some American states that do allow the appointment of a PC prior to the court's making an order.120 In these states a PC is therefore also allowed to assist parties in creating a parenting plan, which is similar to the position in South Africa.121 Nonetheless, consideration should possibly be given to restricting the appointment of a PC to only after the court has entered an order or after a parenting plan has been finalised. If that were the situation, a PC would only be allowed firstly to assist the parties in reaching an agreement and secondly, if they could not, to make a direction that is in line with an existing court order or parenting plan.122 If, however, a PC is allowed to take independent action and make entirely new decisions on parental responsibilities and rights, rather than just making decisions on how to implement a court order or an agreement between the parties on these matters, that might indeed be perceived as an improper delegation of judicial authority and thus cause the viability of parenting coordination to be questioned. PCs should therefore act as enforcers and implementers, encouraging parents' compliance with existing legal authority, rather than as creators of that authority,123 and their directives should be ancillary to a court order.124

Thirdly, some limitations need to be imposed on the decision-making powers of PCs. To maximise the benefits of parenting coordination it is imperative that PCs should have some degree of decision-making authority. However, they cannot be granted so much decision-making authority that the grant constitutes an improper delegation of judicial authority.125 For this reason PCs should be allowed to make decisions or issue directives within a defined and limited scope only.126 In most jurisdictions in the USA and Canada PCs are allowed to make decisions on minor issues only, such as temporary changes to the parenting time schedule that do not substantially alter the basic time share allocation, the management of clothing and belongings between the two homes, the transportation and exchange of a child between the two homes, parental communication and the rules of engagement, the temporary care of a child by a person other than his or her parents, telephone contact between a child and the non-resident parent, a child's daily routine including day-to-day educational matters, a child's participation in extramural activities and special events, the provision of routine medical, dental or other health care to a child, the discipline of a child, and the approval of international travel plans.127 In these jurisdictions PCs are ordinarily not allowed to make any substantial changes to a parent's care or contact with a child or to decide on relocation issues and the quantum of child maintenance.128 Restricting PCs' decision-making authority to minor issues will not render parenting coordination superfluous, as it has been found that high-conflict co-parents are typically more prone to arguing about these day-to-day issues than about major child-related decisions.129Interestingly, in some jurisdictions PCs are allowed to make recommendations to the court on issues such as which parent may authorise counselling or treatment for a child, which parent may select a school, the supervision of contact, submission to a contact and care evaluation, the appointment of a legal representative for a child, and financial matters, including child support, liability for particular expenditures for a child, and health insurance.130 It is unclear whether PCs in South Africa are allowed to make recommendations to the court on these more serious/major issues. However, it seems to be a good idea to allow them to do so, provided of course that they have the required qualifications, experience and training.

A last limitation is that any decision-making by a PC should always be subject to comprehensive and meaningful judicial review.131 In my opinion the form of judicial scrutiny on review should therefore be a proper and full hearing de novo.132It is further proposed that a PC's directive or decision should be subject to such broad judicial review even where the parties have consented to the PC's authority to make a decision that is not reviewable by the court.133 Such a strict approach is necessary to ensure that it remains the court's role to ultimately safeguard the best interests of the children involved. However, this limitation does not imply that a PC's reviewable decision should not be immediately effective and binding in the meantime.134 If PCs' directives have no binding effect and are subject to a lengthy review process, one of the primary benefits of parenting coordination, namely the expeditious resolution of conflict to the benefit of co-parents and their children, will be sacrificed.135

It is very important that all these suggested limitations should be set out in the court order, the parenting coordination agreement in terms of which a PC is appointed or the agreement that the PC is required to enter into with the parties before the commencement of the parenting coordination process.136 It is crucial that all parties know what the PC's powers and limitations are before they become involved in the process, as such an understanding may prevent parties from expecting more from a PC than he or she is ethically able to provide.137 They need to know that while a PC may make directives to resolve parenting conflicts, the ultimate power lies with the court. Therefore, if the PC stays within the parameters suggested above, the argument that parenting coordination is an improper delegation of judicial authority would in all probability not hold water.138

4.4 The question of whether parenting coordination amounts to arbitration

Although parenting coordination contains certain elements of arbitration in that a PC has (limited) decision-making authority, it is argued that when a PC issues a decision or directive, he or she does so based on his or her professional opinion and not as an arbitrator.139 The reasons are that the PC is not required to afford the parties a hearing before issuing a directive and that a directive is not final and binding in the sense that an arbitration award is. In terms of section 28 of the Arbitration Act, as a rule an arbitration award is final and not subject to appeal on a point of law. A PC's decision or directive, on the other hand, should always be subject to a very broad judicial review, as proposed above.140

In addition, in the USA and Canada, where both parenting coordination and family law arbitration have become very prevalent in recent years, a definite distinction is made between these two alternative dispute resolution interventions.141 In fact, it has been stated categorically that parenting coordination is not arbitration.142

Parenting coordination should therefore not be seen as a contravention of section 2 of the Arbitration Act. In any event it is argued that the current prohibition on arbitration in matrimonial and related matters in section 2 is clearly out of sync with the demands of modern times, and that arbitration, either on its own or in conjunction with mediation, is certainly a viable option for the resolution of family law disputes in South Africa today.143

4.5 Parenting coordinators' fees and funding for parenting coordination

As regards PCs' fees, it is suggested that the court appointing a PC should determine the allocation of fees and costs for parenting coordination between the parties.144Courts should further first ascertain whether parties can afford the private services of a PC before ordering them to go for parenting coordination.

The issue of affordability also needs to be addressed to provide fair access to this new intervention. It would be optimal if the opportunity to participate in parenting coordination were more accessible at reduced rates or on a no-fee basis for low-income families, rather than having the process restricted to the wealthy.145Consequently, there is a need for parenting coordination services to be expanded from the private fee-for-service model to the public sector.146 In this regard, the development of court-based parenting coordination services would be welcomed so that parenting coordination could also be offered to those who are likely to benefit but who cannot afford to obtain the service privately.147 This could possibly be a project in which psychology and family law master's degree students could get involved.

 

5 Conclusion

Parenting coordination appears to be a highly effective intervention in resolving parenting issues between high-conflict parties, not only in the best interests of their children but also for the benefit of the parties themselves and the administration of justice. If the current problems with parenting coordination are properly addressed as suggested above, parenting coordination will play an increasing part in future in the continuum of alternative dispute resolution interventions during and after separation and divorce. The solution of the current problems would also contribute to the systematic development of parenting coordination and a high level of practice by PCs in South Africa.

It seems, however, that a national education campaign is called for to ensure the uniform usage of the correct terminology, standardisation, and a full understanding among judges, attorneys, PCs and co-parents of the role and limitations of this valuable intervention. The time has possibly also come for the legislator to intervene and provide comprehensive legislation governing parenting coordination.

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Literature

AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination "Parenting Coordination: Implementation Issues" 2003 Family Court Review 533-564        [ Links ]

AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination "Guidelines for Parenting Coordination" 2006 Family Court Review 164-181        [ Links ]

Belcher-Timme RO et al "Exploring Best Practices in Parenting Coordination: A National Survey of Current Practices and Practitioners" 2013 Family Court Review 651-665        [ Links ]

Coates C et al "Parenting Coordination for High Conflict Families" in Singer JB and Murphy JC (eds) Resolving Family Conflicts (Ashgate Hampshire 2008) 277-295        [ Links ]

Cyr F, Stefano GD and Desjardins B "Family Life, Parental Separation, and Child Custody in Canada: A Focus on Quebec" 2013 Family Court Review 522-541        [ Links ]

Davel CJ and Skelton AM (eds) Commentary on the Children's Act Service (Juta Cape Town 2007)        [ Links ]

De Jong M "An Acceptable, Applicable and Accessible Family-law System for South Africa: Some Suggestions Concerning a Family Court and Family Mediation" 2005 TSAR 33-47        [ Links ]

De Jong M "Is Parenting Coordination Arbitration?" 2013 De Rebus 38-41        [ Links ]

De Jong M "Arbitration of Family Separation Issues: A Useful Adjunct to Mediation and the Court Process" 2014 PER 2355-2410        [ Links ]

Fidler BJ and Epstein P "Parenting Coordination in Canada: An Overview of Legal and Practice Issues" 2008 Journal of Child Custody 53-87        [ Links ]

Fieldstone L et al "Training, Skills, and Practices of Parenting Coordinators: Florida Statewide Study" 2011 Family Court Review 801-817        [ Links ]

Fieldstone L et al "Perspectives on Parenting Coordination: Views of Parenting Coordinators, Attorneys, and Judiciary Members" 2012 Family Court Review 441-454        [ Links ]

Goldstein E "Facilitation - Did Hummel v Hummel Do Children any Favours?" in Clarks Attorneys 1st Annual Johannesburg Conference - Excellence in Family Law: Delivering Clients the Service They Deserve (unpublished conference proceedings 2014) 65-68        [ Links ]

Hastings H "Dispute Resolution Options in Divorce and Custody Cases" 2005 NHBJ 48-59        [ Links ]

Hayes SW "'More of a Street Cop than a Detective': An Analysis of the Roles and Functions of Parenting Coordinators in North Carolina" 2010 Family Court Review 698-709        [ Links ]

Hayes SW, Grady M and Brantley HT "E-mails, Statutes, and Personality Disorders: A Contextual Examination of the Processes, Interventions, and Perspectives of Parenting Coordination" 2012 Family Court Review 429-440        [ Links ]

Heaton J South African Family Law 3rd ed (LexisNexis Durban 2010)        [ Links ]

Henry WJ, Fieldstone L and Bohac K "Parenting Coordination and Court Relitigation: A Case Study" 2009 Family Court Review 682-697        [ Links ]

Jessani AD and James L "Mediators and Parenting Coordinators: Comparing and Contrasting: 20 Questions/40 Answers" 2006 Am J Fam L 180-186        [ Links ]

Kelly JB "Psychological and Legal Interventions for Parents and Children in Custody and Access Disputes: Current Research and Practice" 2002 Va J Soc Pol'y & L 129-163        [ Links ]

Kirkland K and Kirkland KE "Risk Management and Aspirational Ethics for Parenting Coordinators" 2008 Journal of Child Custody 23-43        [ Links ]

Kirkland K and Sullivan M "Parenting Coordination (PC) Practice: A Survey of Experienced Professionals" 2008 Family Court Review 622-636        [ Links ]

Kronby M "Alternate Dispute Resolution: Balancing Public Policies and Private Interests" in Wardle LD and Williams CS (eds) Family Law: Balancing Interests and Pursuing Priorities (Hein New York 2007) 566-575        [ Links ]

Montiel JT "Is Parenting Authority a Usurpation of Judicial Authority? Harmonizing Authority for, Benefits of, and Limitations on this Legal-Psychological Hybrid" 2011 TJLP 364-439        [ Links ]

Montiel JT "Why and How Alabama Courts Should Use Parenting Coordination in Divorce Cases" July 2011 The Alabama Lawyer 301-306        [ Links ]

Schäfer ID "Alternative Divorce Procedures in the Interests of Children: Some Comparative Aspects" 1988 THRHR 297-316        [ Links ]

Sullivan MJ "Parenting Coordination: Coming of Age?" 2013 Family Court Review 56-62        [ Links ]

Walker G "Family Law Arbitration: Legislation and Trends" 2008 J Am Acad Matrimonial Law 521-652        [ Links ]

Case law

Caittz v Caittz 1939 AD 56

CM v NG 2012 4 SA 452 (WCC)

Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012

PD v MD 2013 1 SA 366 (ECP)

Schneider v Aspeling 2010 3 All SA 332 (WCC)

Legislation

British Columbia, Canada

Family Law Act, 2011

South Africa

Arbitration Act 42 of 1965

Children's Act 38 of 2005

Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

United States of America

Florida Statutes

Oklahoma Statutes

Government publications

British Columbia, Canada

BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012

South Africa

GN R183 in GG 37448 of 18 March 2014 (Rules Regulating the Conduct of the Proceedings of the Magistrates' Courts of South Africa)

Internet sources

Family Mediators' Association of the Cape date unknown Facilitation http://www.famac.co.za/facilitation accessed 3 July 2014        [ Links ]

Kwazulu-Natal Association of Family Mediators date unknown The KAFam organisation http://thepixelstudio.wix.com/kafam#!blank accessed 3 July 2014        [ Links ]

Legal Services Society, BC October 2012 Guide to new BC Family Law Act http://goo.gl/Q5ERpjaccessed 10 May 2014        [ Links ]

O'Leary J 2009 A Critical Reflection on Mediation and Facilitation Practice - Miller Du Toit Cloete and the University of the Western Cape's 12th Annual Family Law Conference 1-12 http://www.famac.co.za/resources/documents/doc_download/1-a-critical-reflection-on-mediation-and-facilitation-practice accessed 7 May 2013        [ Links ]

SAAM date unknown http://www.saam.org.za/training.php?catid=4        [ Links ]

South African Association of Mediators in Divorce and Family Matters date unknown Training http://www.saam.org.za/training.php?catid=4 accessed 3 July 2014        [ Links ]

LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS

AFCC Association of Family and Conciliation Courts

Am J Fam L American Journal of Family Law

BC British Columbia, Canada

FAMAC Family Mediators' Association of the Cape

J Am Acad Matrimonial Law Journal of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers

KAFam Kwazulu-Natal Association of Family Mediators

NHBJ New Hampshire Bar Journal

PC Parenting coordinator

PER Potchefstroom Elektroniese Regstydskrif / Potchefstroom Electronic Law Journal

SAAM South African Association of Mediators

THRHR Tydskrif vir Hedendaagse Romeins-Hollandse Reg

TJLP Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy

TSAR Tydskrif vir die Suid-Afrikaanse Reg

Va J Soc Pol'y & L Virginia Journal of Social Policy and Law

 

 

1 Paras 2.1 and 2.2.
2 Para 3 below.
3 See PD v MD 2013 1 SA 366 (ECP) para 12 where Goosen J states that "[a] reading of the Act indicates that it seeks to accord to parents equal responsibility for the care and wellbeing of their children, and that it seeks to ensure that, as far as may be reasonably possible, parental responsibilities and rights are exercised jointly, in the best interests of children".
4 In terms of s 33(3) of the Chlddren's Act 38 of 2005.
5 Davel and Skelton Commentary 3-30.
6 Montiel 2011 TJLP 395.
7 Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 302.
8 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 56.
9 Which is still largely followed in the High Court in family matters: Schäfer 1988 THRHR 297.
10 See eg Kelly 2002 Va J Soc Pol'y & L 131; De Jong 2005 TSAR 33.
11 Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 441; Montiel 2011 TJLP 396. Also see Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 801, who state that in the US family court judges have been frustrated by high-conflict cases, which comprise approximately 10% of their cases but consume 90% of their time.
12 Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 699.
13 Belcher-Timme et al' 2013 Family Court Review 651; Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 801; Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 442; Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 698-699; Montiel 2011 TJLP 397.
14 See eg Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 301.
15 Montiel 2011 TJLP 397; Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 301.
16 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 59.
17 Belcher-Timme et al' 2013 Family Court Review 651; Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 441; Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 808.
18 See Schneider v Aspeing 2010 3 All SA 332 (WCC); CM v NG 2012 4 SA 452 (WCC).
19 See Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012.
20 See further para 3 below regarding problems with the difference in nomenclature.
21 Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012 para 7.
22 Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 651; Montiel 2011 Alabama Lawyer 301.
23 Montiel 2011 TJLP 364, 367, 377; Montiel 2011 Alabama Lawyer 301; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 54; Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 59. See also O'Leary 2009 formerly available at http://www.famac.co.za/resources/documents/doc_download/1-a-critical-reflection-on-mediation-and-facilitation-practice 7-8, who argues that facilitation in the Western Cape does not amount to arbitration.
24 Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 277; Jessani and James 2006 Am J Fam L 180; Henry, Fieldstone and Bohac 2009 Family Court Review 683; Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 442; Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 699; Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57.
25 Kronby "Alternate Dispute Resolution" 567; AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2006 Family Court Review 171.
26 Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 286; Hastings 2005 NHBJ 57; Jessani and James 2006 Am J Fam L 180; Henry, Fieldstone and Bohac 2009 Family Court Review 683; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 54; Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 698, 699; Hayes, Grady and Brantley 2012 Family Court Review 429.
27 Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 699, 702.
28 Such as therapists, divorce coaches, custody evaluators or attorneys.
29 Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 289; Kirkland and Sullivan 2008 Family Court Review 628; Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 809; Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 699, 702.
30 Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 704.
31 Hastings 2005 NHBJ 57; Kirkland and Sullivan 2008 Family Court Review 628; Henry, Fieldstone and Bohac 2009 Family Court Review 683, 684; Hayes, Grady and Brantley 2012 Family Court Review 429; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Psychology 54.
32 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 59.
33 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 59.
34 Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 705; Hayes, Grady and Brantley 2012 Family Court Review 431; 438.
35 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 59.
36 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 59.
37 De Jong 2013 De Rebus 39.
38 Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 442; Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57; Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 651-652; Hayes, Grady and Brantley 2012 Family Court Review 429; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 61; Cyr, Stefano and Desjardins 2013 Family Court Review 529.
39 Montiel 2011 TJLP 372.
40 Montiel 2011 TJLP 430.
41 Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 284; Montiel 2011 TJLP 400-401.
42 Montiel 2011 TJLP 373, 400-401.
43 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 61.
44 Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 813.
45 Henry, Fieldstone and Bohac 2009 Family Court Review 689 indicate that over 60% of couples filed fewer total motions in the first year after parenting coordination was ordered by the court, including 75% fewer child-related motions and 40% non-child-related motions.
46 Montiel 2011 TJLP 373, 401.
47 Walker 2008 J Am Acad Matrimonial Law 642; Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 279; Kirkland and Sullivan 2008 Family Court Review 635.
48 Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 653; Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 802; Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 279; Henry, Fieldstone and Bohac 2009 Family Court Review 689-690.
49 Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 802.
50 Montiel 2011 TJLP 398; Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 302.
51 Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 284.
52 Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 801. See also para 2.1 above.
53 Montiel 2011 TJLP 400.
54 Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 803; Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 279.
55 Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 302.
56 Montiel 2011 TJLP 371.
57 AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2003 Family Court Review 534 n 3; Montiel 2011 TJLP 369 n 8.
58 Ie "special master" in California, "med-arbiter" in Colorado, "wise person" in New Mexico, "custody commissioner" in Hawaii, "family court advisor" in Maricopa County, Arizona, formerly "resolution coordinator" in Oklahoma, and formerly "parenting referee" in Oregon.
59 Kirkland and Kirkland 2008 Journal of Child Custody 30-31.
60 FAMAC date unknown http://www.famac.co.za/facilitation.
61 See SAAM date unknown http://www.saam.ora.za/training.php?catid=4; KAFam.org date unknown http://thepixelstudio.wix.com/kafam#!blank.
62 Fieldstone et al 2011 Family Court Review 815. Also see para 2.1 above.
63 Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012.
64 Para 6.
65 Para 13.
66 Para 10.2.2.
67 See Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 446.
68 AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2003 Family Court Review 533; Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57.
69 Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 659.
70 See eg Div 3 of the BC Family Law Act, 2011.
71 De Jong 2013 De Rebus 39.
72 De Jong 2013 De Rebus 39.
73 O'Leary 2009 formerly available at http://www.famac.co.za/resources/documents/doc_download/1-a-critical-reflection-on-mediation-and-facilitation-practice_8-9.
74 See para 2.2 above.
75 Montiel 2011 TJLP 373, 403.
76 See eg s 14 of the BC Family Law Act, 2011 read with reg 6(1)(a) of the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012 and s 61.125(4)(a) of the Florida Statutes. Also see Montiel 2011 TJLP403.
77 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 58, 60; Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 303; Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 699.
78 Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 303.
79 See eg reg 6(1)(b)(ii)(A) of the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012, which requires all non-legal PCs to meet the training requirements of, and be eligible for membership in a family mediation organisation; and s 61.125(4)(a) of the Florida Statutes, which requires PCs to have completed a family mediation training programme certified by the Florida Supreme Court. Also see AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2006 Family Court Review 166.
80 Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Chidd Custody 61-62; AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2006 Family Court Review 166, 173-176; Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 61.
81 See s 14 of the BC Family Law Act, 2011 read with reg 6(1)(b)(ii)(C) of the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012.
82 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 61.
83 Kirkland and Sullivan 2008 Family Court Review 626.
84 O'Leary 2009 formerly available at http://www.famac.co.za/resources/documents/doc_download/1-a-critical-reflection-on-mediation-and-facilitation-practice 4.
85 See s 61.125(4)(a) of the Florida Statutes, which requires PCs to have served three years of post-licensure or post-certification practice.
86 Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 701.
87 See reg 6(2)(a) of the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012 to the Family Law Act, 2011.
88 Such agreement is often termed a Statement of Understanding: De Jong 2013 De Rebus40.
89 See reg 6(2)(b) of the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012 to the Family Law Act, 2011.
90 See further paras 4.3.1 and 4.3.2 below.
91 Montiel 2011 TJLP 364, 367.
92 Mediation does not involve any decision-making by the mediator, whereas parenting coordination may involve limited decision-making by the PC; mediation is generally confidential, whereas parenting coordination is not; parenting coordination involves much more intensive case management than mediation: Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 58; Montiel 2011 TJLP 382; Hayes 2010 Family Court Review 698.
93 Making provision for co-parents who are experiencing difficulties in exercising their parental responsibilities and rights to first seek to agree on a parenting plan by attending mediation through a social worker or other suitably qualified person.
94 Ch 2 of the Rules Regulating the Conduct of the Proceedings of the Magistrates' Courts of South Africa: GN R183 in GG 37448 of 18 March 2014.
95 Montiel 2011 TJLP 365, 367. Also see the argument on behalf on the applicant in Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012 para 14.
96 See Caiitz v Calttz 1939 AD 56; Heaton South African Family Law 302; s 45(4) of the Children's Act 38 of 2005.
97 See paras 2.1 and 2.2 above.
98 The last-mentioned section was also relied upon by the applicant in Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012 para 12 in support of the appointment of a PC.
99 Goldstein "Facilitation" 67-68.
100 See para 14 of Hummel v Hummel (SGJ) unreported case no 06274/2012 of 10 September 2012.
101 Montiel 2011 TJLP 373; Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 303.
102 Montiel 2011 TJLP 411.
103 Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 445-446, 448, 453.
104 See eg Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 56.
105 Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 57.
106 S 15 of the Family Law Act, 2011.
107 Eg California: Montiel 2011 TJLP 416. Also see Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 663.
108 See eg s 61.125(2) of the Florida Statutes.
109 Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 663.
110 Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 453.
111 Montiel 2011 TJLP411; Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 304.
112 AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2006 Family Court Review 165.
113 S 43-120.2(2) of the Oklahoma Statutes.
114 Montiel 2011 Alabama Lawyer 304.
115 Also see Montiel 2011 TJLP 411-413.
116 Coates et al "Parenting Coordination" 285.
117 Montiel 2011 TJLP405-406; AFCC Task Force on Parenting Coordination 2006 Famlly Court Review 165.
118 See eg s 15(3) of the BC Family Law Act, 2011, which provides that a parenting coordination agreement or order may be made at the same time as, or after, an agreement or order respecting parenting arrangements, contact with a child or other prescribed matters is made.
119 Eg Oklahoma, Idaho, Louisiana and Vermont: Montiel 2011 TJLP 406-408. See also Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57.
120 Eg Florida, Oregon, Arizona, North Carolina, California: Montiel 2011 TJLP 408-409.
121 See the definition of parenting coordination in para 2.1 above.
122 Montiel 2011 TJLP 406.
123 Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 653
124 Montiel 2011 TJLP 433, 437.
125 Montiel 2011 TJLP 418.
126 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Chidd Custody 54.
127 Montiel 2011 TJLP 434; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Chidd Custody 73-74; reg 6(4)(a) of the the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012 to the Family Law Act, 2011.
128 Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Chidd Custody 74; reg 6(4)(b) of the the BC Regulations 347/2012 of 26 November 2012 to the Family Law Act, 2011.
129 Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Chidd Custody 54.
130 Montiel 2011 TJLP 434.
131 Montiel 2011 TJLP 418.
132 However, to reduce ill-founded applications for a hearing de novo, there should be some cost implications for an applicant who is not successful in bettering his or her position on review.
133 See Montiel 2011 TJLP 422.
134 See eg ss 18(5)(a) and (b) of the BC Family Law Act, 2011. In terms hereof a PC's determination (directive) is binding on the parties, effective on the date the determination is made or on a later date specified by the PC. If the determination is filed in the court, it is enforceable as if it were an order of court. However, the determination is subject to a rather broad standard of review, as set out in s 19(1) of the Act.
135 See para 2.2 above.
136 See para 4.2 above.
137 Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 448.
138 Montiel 2011 TJLP437; Montiel 2011 Aaabama Lawyer 303.
139 O'Leary 2009 formally available at http://www.famac.co.za/resources/documents/doc_download/1-a-critical-reflection-on-mediation-and-facilitation-practice 7.
140 See para 4.3.2.
141 Fieldstone et al 2012 Family Court Review 442; Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57; Belcher-Timme et al 2013 Family Court Review 651-652; Hayes, Grady and Brantley 2012 Family Court Review 429; Walker 2008 J Am Acad Matrimonial Law 642-643, 649; Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 56; Cyr, Stefano and Desjardins 2013 Family Court Review 528, 529; Legal Services Society, BC 2012 http://goo.gl/Q5ERpj 2, 3.
142 Montiel 2011 TJLP 364, 367, 377. See also para 2.1 above.
143 See De Jong 2014 PER 2355-2410.
144 In this regard see s 61.125(6) of the Florida Statutes.
145 Fieldstone et al 2012 Famlly Court Review 452.
146 Sullivan 2013 Family Court Review 57.
147 Fidler and Epstein 2008 Journal of Child Custody 62; Fieldstone et al 2012 Famlly Court Review 452.

Creative Commons License All the contents of this journal, except where otherwise noted, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License