ELEVENTH JUDICIAL CIRCUIT COURT RULE 120
Effective January 1, 2013.
D. Parenting Coordination in Dissolution and Family Cases (McLean County)
In an effort to provide the citizens of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit with an expeditious and expense saving alternative to traditional litigation in the resolution of high conflict custody and visitation cases, a program of Parenting Coordination is hereby established in McLean County.
1. Appointment - The Court may appoint a parenting coordinator when it finds the following:
a. The parties failed to adequately cooperate and communicate with regard to issues involving their children, or have been unable to implement a parenting plan or parenting schedule;
b. Mediation has not been successful or has been determined by the judge to be inappropriate; or
c. The appointment of a parenting coordinator is in the best interests of the child or children involved in the proceedings.
Notwithstanding the above, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator by agreement of the parties.
2. Qualification - The parenting coordinator shall possess the Minimum Qualifications of Matrimonial and Family Dispute Mediators which have been established by the Chief Judge of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
3. Confidentiality - Communications with the parenting coordinator shall not be confidential, except that upon the agreement of both parties and the parenting coordinator, the court may deem all or any specific part of the communications with the parenting coordinator to be confidential, if such designation appears to be in the best interests of the children.
a. The parenting coordinator shall educate, mediate, monitor court orders and make recommendations to the court as necessary. In addition, the parenting coordinator may recommend approaches that will reduce conflict between parents and reduce unnecessary stress for the children.
b. The parenting coordinator may monitor parental behaviors and mediate disputes concerning parenting issues and report any allegations of noncompliance to the court, if necessary.
c. The parenting coordinator shall recommend outside resources as needed, such as random drug screens, parenting classes and psychotherapy.
d. The parenting coordinator may recommend detailed guidelines or rules for communication between parents.
e. The parenting coordinator shall maintain communication among all parties by serving, if necessary, as a conduit for information.
f. The parenting coordinator may meet with the parties, the children, and significant others jointly or separately. The parenting coordinator shall determine if the appointments shall be joint or separate.
g. Each parent should direct any disagreements or concerns regarding the children to the parenting coordinator.
h. The parenting coordinator shall work with both parents to attempt to resolve the conflict and, if necessary, shall recommend an appropriate resolution to the parents.
i. The parenting coordinator shall not have any decision-making authority which is the sole province of the court.
j. The parenting coordinator shall not serve as a custody evaluator in any proceeding involving one or more parties for whom the parenting coordinator has provided parenting coordination services.
k. The parenting coordinator shall not be permitted to give a recommendation or opinion concerning the ultimate issue of fact, law, or mixed issue of fact and law as to child custody, primary physical residence, or visitation. Recommendations or opinions on lesser issues, as stated above, may be conveyed by the parenting coordinator to the parents and the court.
l. No parenting coordinator shall be held liable for civil damages for any act or omission in the scope of the parenting coordinator's employment or function, unless such person acted in bad faith or with malicious purpose, or in a manner exhibiting wanton and willful disregard of the rights, safety or property of another.
5. Expenses of the Parties – Expenses of the Parent Coordinator shall be borne by the parties and shall not be assessed against or paid for by McLean County.
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Jon D. McLaughlin