How Much Does Parenting Coordination Cost?
Intro to Parenting Coordination Fees
This is a simple question that does not lend itself to a simple answer. Although we believe in fee and pricing transparency, many factors will determine what your financial costs for parenting coordination could amount to over a specific period.
As a reminder, you should always consider that working with a court-approved parenting coordinator should ultimately save you money. “How so?” you ask.
- Have you had multiple court hearings for parenting-related issues, such as for contempt or modification hearings?
- Do the court officers at the MA Probate & Family Courts know your name or the name of the other parent?
- Have you spent lots (and lots) of money on legal fees related to parental conflict, perhaps with no end in sight?
Attorney fees and multiple court appearances are expensive and may do little to help resolve parenting problems in the long-term.
This does not mean that your lawyer is not doing a good job, but parental conflict is complicated and the traditional adversarial approach is just not suited at times to the challenges that high-conflict parenting bring.
Thus, parenting coordination fees, shared between two parents, will almost certainly be less than ongoing attorney’s fees; and can help parents minimize ongoing conflict and reduce or eliminate the need for repeated court appearances related to parenting.
Billing Methods for Parenting Coordination
Generally, parenting coordination engagements typically last for renewable time-periods, such as six months or a year. A parenting coordinator may work with a family for longer periods, and frequently that is the case. Understandably, parents with high-conflict relationships may use the PC’s services more frequently than parents that experience less challenging parenting relationships.
Parenting coordination services are commonly billed on an hourly basis and fees vary based upon how often, and to what extent, you and the other parent need help from the parenting coordinator. This variable is the main driver of your fees and is why estimating total fees is impossible.
One goal of parenting coordination is to help parents resolve their conflicts with less intervention, thereby reducing the need for frequent involvement by your parenting coordinator. There is an educational component to parenting coordination; as helping parents improve their ability to resolve issues on their own is good for families. Yes, an effective Parenting Coordinator may put him or herself out of business as parents become more comfortable in their roles as separated/divorced parents and are better able to cooperate and solve many of the typical issues that arise.
Parents usually divide the parenting coordination fees in some way, but there can be exceptions when one parent may be ordered by a Judge to pay all of the fees. For cases involving the court, the fee details will most likely be part of the court’s order. Details of your client relationship with the parenting coordinator, including fees, retainer requirements, and other policies are included in your Parenting Coordination Client Agreement.
Our hourly rate for parenting coordination is $300.00 per hour, or $150.00 per parent unless specified otherwise by the court, or agreed otherwise by the parents. For parents with low income, a reduced hourly rate may be available on a case by case basis and at our discretion.
Are Flat Fees Available for Parenting Coordination Services?
A fixed fee for a certain period may be available in some private engagements.
Clients using parenting coordination services with us through a court order (or stipulation) will work with us on an hourly basis, and our services will be governed by the Massachusetts Probate & Family Court’s Standing order on Parenting Coordination, 1-17.
Clients without an open court matter that are looking to improve their co-parenting experience and minimize conflict for themselves and their children may have the option to work with us on a customized flat-fee plan for Parent Coaching. This service differs from Parenting Coordination as it is completely voluntary and the scope of any engagement is defined and agreed to by the parents and us, and not included as part of a court order. With parent coaching, the suggestions of the coach are not binding upon a parent, as they may be in a Parenting Coordination situation.
Of course, the difficulty with a fixed fee with this type of work is that parents may come to rely on the parenting coach and over-rely on the parenting coach’s involvement, basically outsourcing too many parenting decisions and not learning how to parent together.
Thus, the decision about whether a fixed monthly fee for services may or may not be available is made after the intake process is completed.
Are There Other Costs or Expenses Related to Parenting Coordination?
You may incur additional expenses, such as travel time, if necessary; although travel is not usually required. Your PC Client Agreement may require parents to agree to the use of a third-party application/tool, such as Our Family Wizard, that has an annual cost of approximately $120.00 per parent. Your PC Client Agreement will contain additional information regarding expenses.
If you have any other questions regarding Parenting Coordination services through Next Phase Legal & Dispute Resolution LLC of Norfolk, MA, please contact us at 508-359-4043, or email Steve McDonough: firstname.lastname@example.org.