Child custody law in Pennsylvania is constantly evolving. Navigating a child custody case can be difficult if you’re not familiar with the various rules and procedure that accompany custody litigation in PA. Even if you’ve been through a custody case before, chances are that the rules have changed (even slightly) since the last time you were in court. Take, for example, the adoption of Rule 1915.11-1 as part of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure by the PA Supreme Court earlier this year. The new rule eliminates parent coordinators from child custody cases for both new and existing cases. The practical effect of the rule change for parents who previously utilized Parenting Coordinators in a lurch – either settle disagreements among themselves or proceed through the court system.
Before the rule changed, many Pennsylvania courts utilized Parenting Coordinators as a way to alleviate Judges’ crammed dockets by sorting out a variety of disagreements ranging from small deviations from the normal custody schedule to where a child will attend school. Proponents of Parenting Coordinators argued that they provided an outlet for custody issues to be resolved without having to go through the courts. However, critics argued that Parenting Coordinators had too much power and were making decisions that should be made by judges. With the ushering in of the new PA Supreme Court rules, it seems that the critics of Parenting Coordinators won as the role was eliminated in its entirety.
For many courts the elimination of the Parenting Coordinators may lead to an increase in contested child custody cases entering the judicial system, without an outlet for out-of-court resolution. This may result in exposing more families to the strife of high-conflict litigation, which has proven to be damaging to children. However, even in the absence of Parenting Coordinators, there are steps that parents can take to manage a potentially damaging situation. Utilizing attorneys experienced in working collaboratively with the other side to resolve issues is of paramount importance to minimize the damage.
If you’re facing a hotly contests child custody case, it’s important to work with an attorney who understands the ramifications of high-conflict custody cases. Contact our office today to set up a consultation with one of our experienced and knowledgeable PA child custody attorneys.