PC News  and Tips From Across the Country and Around the World!

Author:  Hilary Linton

Parenting coordination is in its infancy in Ontario. As an unregulated, private service for which no court directives or Rules apply, we can learn a lot from what others are doing.



Here are some updates:


  1. Anne-Marie Cade  is an Australian lawyer, parenting coordinator and Churchill Fellowship scholar. She has been interviewing PCs around the world for her ground-breaking research paper, expected in early 2023. I recently interviewed Anne-Marie about her work. Here is an exclusive sneak peak just for FDRIO members!


            HL:  What surprised you the most about this project?

AMC: I was most surprised by how different PC practice is in every US State. This seemed to be the situation in Canada as well. It varied from province to province. Also, it is a work-in-progress in that some US states have statutes and rules and legislation, whereas others don’t. The fact that it is largely a non-confidential process but is confidential in a few US States was very interesting. And the approach to training of practitioners varied widely.


HL: What is the most common challenge across jurisdictions?

AMC: A lack of understanding by judges about the PC process was universally noted. Practitioners everywhere told me that more training for judges is essential.


HL: what is the most creative innovation you came across?

AMC: I found the dual PC model to be interesting. There are definite advantages to this approach particularly in high conflict cases.


We are looking forward to Anne-Marie’s paper!


  1. Did you know that FDRP PCs are eligible to join the Saskatchewan Early Family Dispute Resolution Roster? That province mandates parties seeking relief in court to have tried one form of dispute resolution with an approved practitioner. The criteria for joining the list of approved PCs can be found here!


  1. I recently interviewed two leading PCs in South Africa, Astrid Martalas and Craig Schneider. I wanted to learn more from PCs working in a jurisdiction similar to ours, where there is no court direction or legislative mandate for parenting coordination.


Astrid (a psychologist) and Craig (a family lawyer) have developed a fantastic co-PC model that is really worth taking a closer look at. Here is what I liked about their model:


    1. It is very realistic and practical. They let new clients know right away that they do not do emergencies, there is no therapeutic element to their work nor are they going to enforce outcomes.


    1. They offer a very pragmatic four-step model.

                                               i.     Step 1: a solution-focused mediation

                                             ii.     Step 2: they make a non-binding proposal

                                            iii.     Step 3: they make a non-binding recommendation that includes forms of assessment via interviews with collaterals. Parents can have a trial of the recommended outcomes and return for evaluation in 90 days, or

                                            iv.     They provide a ‘directive’ which is something close to an arbitrated outcome.


    1. Their agreement takes effect when either parent seeks their input about a dispute— not when the PC agreement is signed.


    1. PCs have the option to refer the matter go court without violating the PC Agreement. I found this quite compelling as another tool in the PC Toolbox.


The interview will be available on the Riverdale Mediation Youtube channel in the new year. Follow us on Linked In or subscribe to our newsletter to stay in touch about this and other PC news from Riverdale!


  1. Have you joined the AFCC Parenting Coordination Network? If not, you should! This is a google group that brings great value to its members. Contact the AFCC for more information!


  1. Finally, Riverdale will be forming a new Mentoring Group in the new year for new PCs, including those who have completed their training and are seeking the required number of supervised hours. Anyone interested in learning more please contact us at info@riverdalemediation.com!

Hilary Linton is a Toronto family lawyer, mediator, arbitrator, parenting coordinator and trainer. After litigating civil and family matters for 14 years, she started Riverdale Mediation Ltd. which has become internationally recognized as a leader in family dispute resolution training.

Website: https://www.riverdalemediation.com/

Email: hilary@riverdalemediation.com