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RULE 9-205.2. PARENTING COORDINATION

West's Annotated Code of MarylandMaryland Rules

West's Annotated Code of Maryland
Maryland Rules
Title 9. Family Law Actions
Chapter 200. Divorce, Annulment, Alimony, Child Support, and Child Custody (Refs & Annos)
MD Rules, Rule 9-205.2
RULE 9-205.2. PARENTING COORDINATION
(a) Applicability. This Rule applies to the appointment of parenting coordinators by a court and to consent orders approving the employment of parenting coordinators by the parties in actions under this Chapter.
Committee note: Actions in which parenting coordination may be used include an initial action to determine custody or visitation and an action to modify an existing order or judgment as to custody or visitation.
(b) Definitions. In this Rule, the following definitions apply:
(1) Parenting Coordination. “Parenting coordination” means a process in which the parties work with a parenting coordinator to reduce the effects or potential effects of conflict on the parties' child. Although parenting coordination may draw upon alternative dispute resolution techniques, parenting coordination is not governed by the Rules in Title 17, except as otherwise provided in this Rule.
(2) Parenting Coordinator. “Parenting coordinator” means an impartial provider of parenting coordination services.
(c) Qualifications of Parenting Coordinator.
(1) Age, Education, and Experience. To be designated or approved by the court as a parenting coordinator, an individual shall:
(A) be at least 21 years old and hold a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university;
(B) hold a post-graduate degree in psychology, social work, counseling, negotiation, conflict management, or a related subject area, or from an accredited medical or law school;
(C) have at least three years of related professional experience undertaken after receiving the post-graduate degree; and
(D) hold a current license if required in the individual's area of practice.
(2) Parenting Coordination Training. A parenting coordinator also shall have completed:
(A) at least 20 hours of training in a family mediation training program meeting the requirements of Rule 17-106 (b); and
(B) at least 40 hours of accredited specialty training in topics related to parenting coordination, including conflict coaching, developmental stages of children, dynamics of high-conflict families, family violence dynamics, parenting skills, problem-solving techniques, and the stages and effects of divorce.
Committee note: The accredited specialty training requirement may be met by training offered by recognized national organizations such as the American Bar Association or the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.
(3) Continuing Education. Within each calendar year, a parenting coordinator shall complete a minimum of four hours of continuing education approved by the Administrative Office of the Courts in one or more of the topics listed in subsection (c)(2) of this Rule and in recent developments in family law. The Administrative Office shall maintain a list of approved continuing education programs.
(d) Parenting Coordinator Lists. An individual who has the qualifications listed in section (c) of this Rule and seeks court appointment as a parenting coordinator shall submit an application to the family support services coordinator of the circuit court for each county in which the individual seeks appointment. The application shall document that the individual meets the qualifications required in section (c) of this Rule. If satisfied that the applicant meets the qualifications, the family support services coordinator shall place the applicant's name on a list of qualified individuals which, together with the information submitted by each individual on the list, shall be accessible to the public.
(e) Approval of Parenting Coordinator Employed by Parties. In any action in which the custody of or visitation with a child of the parties is or was at issue, the parties, by agreement, may employ a parenting coordinator to assist them in dealing with existing or future conflicts regarding their access to and responsibilities for the child. The parties may jointly request the court to enter a consent order approving the agreement. The court shall enter such an order if it finds that the parenting coordinator has the qualifications set forth in section (c) of this Rule and that the agreement:
(1) is in writing and signed by the parties and the parenting coordinator;
(2) states the services to be provided by the parenting coordinator;
(3) states the extent to which the parenting coordinator may receive confidential or privileged information pertaining to the child or the parties and any limitations on the use of that information by the parenting coordinator;
(4) states the amount or rate of compensation to be paid to the parenting coordinator, which may exceed the amount or rate provided for in section (k) of this Rule; and
(5) is otherwise consistent with the best interest of the child.
Committee note: Parties who, by agreement, employ a parenting coordinator on their own initiative are not required to seek court approval. Section (e) of this Rule applies only if they request a court order approving the agreement.
(f) Appointment of Parenting Coordinator by Court. In an action in which the custody of or visitation with a child of the parties is in issue and the court determines that the level of conflict between the parties with respect to that issue so warrants, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator in accordance with this section.
(1) Appointment During Pendency of Action. On motion of a party, on joint request of the parties, or on the court's own initiative and after notice and hearing, the court may appoint a parenting coordinator during the pendency of the action. Unless sooner terminated in accordance with this Rule, the appointment shall terminate upon the entry of a judgment granting or modifying custody or visitation.
(2) Appointment Upon Entry of Judgment. Upon entry of a judgment granting or modifying custody or visitation, the court, with the consent of the parties and after a hearing, may appoint a parenting coordinator. The court may appoint the individual who served as a parenting coordinator during the pendency of the action. Unless sooner terminated in accordance with this Rule, the appointment of a post-judgment parenting coordinator shall not exceed two years unless the parties and the parenting coordinator agree in writing to an extension for a specified longer period.
Committee note: Appointment of a parenting coordinator does not affect the applicability of Rules 9-204, 9-205, or 9-205.1, nor does the appointment preclude the use of an alternative dispute resolution process under Title 17 of these Rules.
(3) Selection. The court may not appoint an individual as a parenting coordinator unless the individual:
(A) has the qualifications listed in section (c) of this Rule,
(B) is willing to serve as the parenting coordinator in the action, and
(C) agrees not to charge or accept a fee in excess of that allowed in the applicable fee schedule adopted pursuant to subsection (k)(1) of this Rule.
(4) Contents of Order or Judgment. An order or judgment appointing a parenting coordinator shall include:
(A) the name, business address, e-mail address, and telephone number of the parenting coordinator;
(B) if there are allegations or findings of domestic violence committed by or against a party or child, any provisions the court deems necessary to address the safety and protection of the parties, all children of the parties, other children residing in the home of a party, and the parenting coordinator; and
Committee note: The order must be consistent with the relevant provisions of any other existing order, such as a “no contact” requirement that is included in a civil protective order or is a condition of pre-trial release in a criminal case.
(C) if the appointment is of a post-judgment parenting coordinator, any decision-making authority of the parenting coordinator authorized pursuant to subsection (g)(9) of this Rule.
(g) Services Permitted. As appropriate, a parenting coordinator may:
(1) if there is no operative custody and visitation order, work with the parties to develop an agreed plan for custody and visitation;
(2) if there is an operative custody and visitation order, assist the parties in amicably resolving disputes about the interpretation of and compliance with the order and in making any joint recommendations to the court for any changes to the order;
(3) educate the parties about making and implementing decisions that are in the best interest of the child;
(4) assist the parties in developing guidelines for appropriate communication between them;
(5) suggest resources to assist the parties;
(6) assist the parties in modifying patterns of behavior and in developing parenting strategies to manage and reduce opportunities for conflict in order to reduce the impact of any conflict upon their child;
(7) in response to a subpoena issued at the request of a party or an attorney for a child of the parties, or upon action of the court pursuant to Rule 2-514 or 5-614, produce documents and testify in the action as a fact witness;
(8) if concerned that a party or child is in imminent physical or emotional danger, communicate with the court or court personnel to request an immediate hearing; and
(9) decide post-judgment disputes by making minor, temporary modifications to child access provisions ordered by the court if (A) the judgment or post-judgment order of the court authorizes such decision making, and (B) the parties have agreed in writing or on the record that the post-judgment parenting coordinator may do so.
Committee note: Examples of such modifications include one-time or minor changes in the time or place for child transfer and one-time or minor deviations from access schedules to accommodate special events or circumstances.
(h) Services Not Permitted. A parenting coordinator may not:
(1) except as permitted by subsections (g)(7) and (8) of this Rule, communicate orally or in writing with the court or any court personnel regarding the substance of the action;
Committee note: This subsection does not prohibit communications with respect to routine administrative matters; collection of fees, including submission of records of the number of contacts with each party and the duration of each contact; or resignation. Nothing in the subsection affects the duty to report child abuse or neglect under any provision of federal or State law or the right of the parenting coordinator to defend against allegations of misconduct or negligence.
(2) testify in the action as an expert witness; or
Cross reference: See Rule 5-702 as to expert witnesses.
(3) except for decision making by a post-judgment parenting coordinator authorized pursuant to subsection (g)(9) of this Rule, make parenting decisions on behalf of the parties.
(i) Confidential Information.
(1) Access to Case Records. Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, the parenting coordinator shall have access to all case records in the action. If a document or any information contained in a case record is not open to public inspection under the Rules in Title 16, Chapter 900, the court shall determine whether the parenting coordinator may have access to it and shall specify any conditions to that access.
Cross reference: See Rule 16-902 for the definition of “case record.”
(2) Other Confidential Information.
(A) A parenting coordinator may not require or coerce the parties or an attorney for the child to release any confidential information that is not included in the case record.
(B) Confidential or privileged information received by the parenting coordinator from a party or from a third person with the consent of a party may be disclosed by the parenting coordinator to the other party, to an attorney for the child, and in court pursuant to subsections (g)(7) and (8) of this Rule. Unless otherwise required by law, the parenting coordinator may not disclose the information to anyone else without the consent of the party who provided the information or consented to a third person providing it.
(j) Removal or Resignation of Parenting Coordinator.
(1) Removal. The court shall remove a parenting coordinator:
(A) on motion of a party or an attorney for the child, if the court finds good cause, or
(B) on a finding that continuation of the appointment is not in the best interest of the child.
(2) Resignation. A parenting coordinator may resign at any time by written notice sent by first-class mail to each party and any attorney for the child. The notice shall state the effective date of the resignation and that the parties may request the appointment of another parenting coordinator. The notice shall be sent at least 15 days before the effective date of the resignation. Promptly after mailing the notice, and at least seven days before the effective date of resignation, the parenting coordinator shall file a copy of the notice with the court.
(k) Fees.
(1) Fee Schedules. Subject to the approval of the Chief Judge of the Court of Appeals, the county administrative judge of each circuit court may develop and adopt maximum fee schedules for parenting coordinators. In developing the fee schedules, the county administrative judge shall take into account the availability of qualified individuals willing to provide parenting coordination services and the ability of litigants to pay for those services. A parenting coordinator appointed by the court may not charge or accept a fee for parenting coordination services in that action in excess of the fee allowed by the applicable schedule. Violation of this subsection shall be cause for removal from all lists maintained pursuant to section (d) of this Rule, Rule 9-205, and the Rules in Title 17.
(2) Allocation of Fees and Expenses. Subject to any agreement entered into by the parties pursuant to section (e) of this Rule, the court shall designate how and by whom the parenting coordinator shall be paid. If the court finds that the parties have the financial means to pay the fees and expenses of the parenting coordinator, the court shall allocate the fees and expenses of the parenting coordinator between the parties and may enter an order against either or both parties for the reasonable fees and expenses.
Source: This Rule is new.

Credits

[Adopted June 7, 2011, eff. July 1, 2011. Amended June 6, 2016, eff. July 1, 2016; June 20, 2017, eff. Aug. 1, 2017.]

Editors' Notes

HISTORICAL NOTES
2016 Orders
The June 6, 2016, order revised internal references in the Rule.
2017 Orders
The June 20, 2017 order, revised an internal reference.
MD Rules, Rule 9-205.2, MD R FAM LAW ACT Rule 9-205.2
Current with amendments received through July 1, 2019.
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