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Parenting Coordination in Northern Virginia
Parenting Coordination in Northern Virginia
Parenting Coordination in Northern Virginia

Parenting Coordination

Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner, educating parents about children’s needs, and with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, making decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract. Parenting Coordination is an intervention for helping families deal with conflicts in domestic relations proceedings before the courts. The Parenting Coordination model assists families in structuring, implementing, and monitoring viable parenting plans, tailored to each families individual needs and unique circumstances; it reduces litigation costs when a high conflict situation threatens a family's adjustment process.”


~Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), Guidelines for Parenting Coordination (2005).


Parenting Coordination can be distinguished from Mediation in that a Mediator is an impartial third-party who facilitates the parties in sorting through, negotiating, and ultimately making their own decisions. A Parenting Coordinator (“PC”), on the other hand, is appointed by and responsible to the court. Typically, a court ordered PC appointment is pursuant to a request by one or both of the parties’ attorneys. After meeting with and gathering all relevant information from the parties, a PC will make recommendations and/or decisions for the parties and often report to the court. The courts take seriously this delegation of judicial authority, appointing only qualified professionals. Whether stipulated by the parties or assigned by the court, the power and authority inherent in the role of the PC are substantial.  


Parents ideal for Parenting Coordination have demonstrated a long-term inability or unwillingness to make parenting decisions on their own, to comply with parenting agreements and orders, to reduce their child-related conflicts, and to protect their children from the impact of that conflict.


All of The Family Center Parenting Coordinators are AFCC members with training in Parenting Coordination: Working with High Conflict Families. The Family Center Parenting Coordinators are Glory Fox Dierker, Ph.D.; and Gus Nava, Ph.D.; Maggie Fox Dierker, MSW-J.D.

Our areas of training and expertise include the following:

  • Conflict resolution theory and techniques;

  • Child development, psychological theory, and research (including adjustment to divorce);

  • Family dynamics and family systems theory;

  • Domestic relations laws;

  • Familiarity with dynamics of domestic violence and associated safety and intervention considerations; and

  • Parenting education and techniques.

“I'm really grateful to The Family Center for turning what could've been a complete nightmare into a truly transformative process, resulting in a MUCH better life for me, our four kids, and their mother. Believe it or not (as contentious as we were!) my ex and I have turned into enthusiastic co-parents. Our kids are thriving-- we're even able to (post-divorce) all have dinner together from time to time. This never would've happened had we gone the traditional divorce route. I highly recommend this process!”

~Bobby D.

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