Tulsa Attorney BlogHow to Stop the Appointment of a Parenting Coordinator in an Oklahoma Custody Case

Come up With Arguments on How It’s Not in the Best Interest of the Children

Video Transcribed: How to stop the appointment of a parenting coordinator in an Oklahoma family law case. I’m attorney James Wirth, and I’m about to talk about objections to the appointing of a parenting coordinator.

All right, so for my cases where I’m representing people in custody battles in Oklahoma, or any cases really regarding decisions regarding children, I most of the time recommend the appointment of a parenting coordinator.

I think it can simplify issues, you can get certain things decided more quickly and more cheaply. But sometimes there may be a case where you don’t want a parenting coordinator appointed or where there’s a particular parenting coordinator that’s been recommended by the court or the other party, and you want to object to that.

So, that’s what this video is all about, is how and why and when should you do that. Okay, so if you’ve got the other party requesting the appointment of parenting coordinator or the judge requesting it, you do have the right to object.

What you want to do is you want to look at the statute on the requirements for a parenting coordinator. There’s two initial things that are required if there’s an objection, and one is that the case is high conflict.

So if you don’t want it, you need to argue the case is not high conflict. The statute goes into what are the requirements of a high conflict case. That’s where there’s a lot of litigation, anger and distrust, physical aggression, verbal abuse, difficulty in communicating and cooperating.

So, you’re going to want to show and demonstrate through evidence that the parties get along, that they’re able to make decisions for the best interest of the children without a third party involved, that there has not been domestic violence or threats, and that there’s not anger, that the parties communicate well.

If you can demonstrate good communications through text messages, emails, other documentation, and show that you guys work together to make decisions for the best interest of the child, then you can demonstrate to the court that it’s not a high conflict case.

If the court finds it’s not a high conflict case, then the court can not by law appoint a parenting coordinator without your agreement.

So, the other thing the court is required to find in order to appoint a parenting coordinator where there’s an objection is that it’s in the best interest of the children. So, you’re going to want to come up with arguments on how it’s not in the best interest of the children.

That can be a difficult thing to do, because like I said, I think most cases, it is beneficial to have a parenting coordinator.

But you want to look at the particulars of your circumstances and why things are working well now, and that it doesn’t make sense to delay things further by getting a parenting coordinator and that it wouldn’t be in the best interest.

Then the last one, usually the best argument to make, and that is that simply the parties don’t have the funds to pay for a parenting coordinator.

It would be burdensome on the parties to do that, because the statute specifically talks about that. In Title 43, Section 120.5, which is part of the Parenting Coordinator Act, it says, “No parenting coordinator shall be appointed, unless the court finds that the parties have the means to pay the fees of the parenting coordinator.”

So if you can show by finances, income, these are my expenses, I just can’t afford to pay for a parenting coordinator, then that could be an argument not to have one. So you want to argue those three things. The next part comes down to a particular parenting coordinator.

So in addition to arguing those things, if you know who they’re suggesting as a parenting coordinator, then you want to look at the mandatory disclosures that the parenting coordinator’s required to provide.

That is resume, any background regarding disciplinary matters and reprimands, any disclosures of prior criminal convictions the last 10 years, all of those things.

Or if the case involves allegations of domestic violence or threats or stalking, then the parenting coordinator has to have 16 hours of domestic violence training. If they don’t have that training, then you can object to them being the parenting coordinator.

So those are the facts and circumstances you want to look at. I can tell you that one case I had, the parenting coordinator, we later turned out had disciplinary proceedings in another state, and those disciplinary proceedings were not disclosed to the parties.

So we filed a motion to have him removed as the parenting coordinator, because that wasn’t provided information, and we felt that that was an indication that maybe that person wasn’t the best to be the parenting coordinator on the case.

Interestingly at that time though, the disclosures did not require providing of that history.

So since that time, the law has changed and added in a provision where you’ve got to provide reprimands and licensing, authority, disciplinary proceedings in Oklahoma and elsewhere.

So, that can certainly be a reason to keep somebody off as being the parenting coordinator, so you want to look for that in your case.

If you’ve got circumstances that you’re in where you’re looking at this issue, you’re not going to just want to take this general advice, you’re going to want to get the specific advice of an Oklahoma attorney. If you want to talk to somebody at my office, you can go to makelaweasy.com.

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