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Appointment of Parenting Coordinator may not require consent
Posted in Estate Planning

The Indiana Court of Appeals implied that the appointment of a level II Parenting Coordinator does not require the consent of the parents. In Paternity of C.H.; K.L. v. M.H., the mother and father lived together in 2005. Late that year, the mother gave birth to the couple’s child. The couple’s relationship was turbulent, and they eventually separated. The mother and father began to disagree on various custody and parenting time issues. The mother filed a petition to establish child support and a parenting time schedule. As part of the trial court's review of the matter, and after a hearing, the trial court ordered the parties to participate in "parenting time coordination" with an appointed Level II Parenting Coordinator. The trial court also ordered a parenting time schedule and child support order. The mother appealed. On appeal, the mother argued that the appointment of the Parenting Coordinator was an abuse of discretion because neither party requested or purportedly agreed to the appointment. On review, the Court of Appeals noted that it was without dispute that the mother and father have a difficult time communicating and working through parenting time issues. The Court also noted that, when the trial court announced its intention of appointing a Parenting Coordinator, the mother responded, "that would be great." Thus, the Court of Appeals concluded that "[w]hen considering the spirit and intent of the Guidelines, the ongoing communication difficulties that the mother and father have had regarding the parenting time schedule with [Child], and the mother's approval of the trial court's decision to appoint the Parent Coordinator, we conclude that the trial court did not err in appointing the Parent Coordinator."   It is important to note that nowhere in the opinion did the Court of Appeals indicate that the outcome of the appeal would have differed had the mother's reaction to the trial court's announcement of the Parenting Coordinator appointment been oppositional, or that the Parenting Coordinator appointment would be per se error in the absence of consent.

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    Mike is a partner in Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP’s Estate Planning Department. The Estate Planning Department seamlessly coordinates and executes a wide array of legal services that cater to the unique needs of high ...



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