Rule 12.742. Parenting Coordination

(a)     Applicability. This rule applies to parenting coordination.

(b)     Qualification Process. Each judicial circuit shall establish a process for determining that a parenting coordinator is qualified in accordance with the requirements established in the parenting coordination section of Chapter 61, Florida Statutes.

(c)     Order Referring Parties to Parenting Coordinator. An order referring the parties to a parenting coordinator must be in substantial compliance with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.984(a). The order must specify the role, responsibility, and authority of the parenting coordinator.

(d)     Appointment of Parenting Coordinator. The parties may agree in writing on a parenting coordinator subject to the court’s approval. If the parties cannot agree on a parenting coordinator, the court shall appoint a parenting coordinator qualified by law.

(e)     Response by Parenting Coordinator. The parenting coordinator must file a response accepting or declining the appointment in substantial compliance with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.984(b).

(f)     Term of Service. The term of the parenting coordinator shall be as specified in the order of appointment or as extended by the court. The initial term of service shall not exceed two years. The court shall terminate the service on:

(1)     The parenting coordinator’s resignation or disqualification; or

(2)     A finding of good cause shown based on the court’s own motion or a party’s written motion. Good cause includes, but is not limited to the occurrence of domestic violence; circumstances that compromise the safety of any person or the integrity of the process; or a finding that there is no longer a need for the service of the parenting coordinator. The motion and notice of hearing shall also be served on the parenting coordinator.

(g)     Removal of Parenting Coordinator. The court shall remove the parenting coordinator if the parenting coordinator becomes disqualified under the parenting coordination section of Chapter 61, Florida Statutes, or if good cause if shown.

(h)     Appointment of Substitute Parenting Coordinator. If a parenting coordinator cannot serve or continue to serve, a substitute parenting coordinator may be chosen in the same manner as the original.

(i)      Authority with Consent. The parenting coordinator may have additional authority with express written consent. If there has been a history of domestic violence the court must find that consent has been freely and voluntarily given.

(1)     With the express written consent of both parties, the parenting coordinator may

(A)     have temporary decision-making authority to resolve specific non-substantive disputes between the parties until such time as a court order is entered modifying the decision; or

(B)     make recommendations to the court concerning modifications to the parenting plan or time-sharing.

(2)     With the express written consent of a party, a parenting coordinator may

(A)     have access to confidential and privileged records and information of that party; or

(B)     provide confidential and privileged information for that party to health care providers and to any other third parties.

(3)     With the express approval of the court, the parenting coordinator may

(A)     have access to a child’s confidential and privileged records and information; or

(B)     provide confidential and privileged information for that child to health care providers and to any other third parties.

(j)      Limitation of Authority.

(1)     A parenting coordinator shall not have decision making authority to resolve substantive disputes between the parties. A dispute is substantive if it would

(A)     significantly change the quantity or decrease the quality of time a child spends with either parent; or

(B)     modify parental responsibility.

(2)     A parenting coordinator shall not make a substantive recommendation concerning parental responsibility or timesharing to the court unless the court on its own motion or a joint motion of the parties determines that:

(A)     there is an emergency as defined by the parenting coordination section of Chapter 61, Florida Statutes,

(B)     the recommendation would be in the best interest of the child, and

(C)     the parties agree that any parenting coordination communications that may be raised to support or challenge the recommendation of the parenting coordinator will be permitted.

(k)     Emergency Order.

(1)     Consideration by the Court. Upon  the filing of an affidavit or verified report of an emergency by the parenting coordinator, the court shall determine whether the facts and circumstances contained in the report constitute an emergency and whether an emergency order needs to be entered with or without notice to the parties to prevent or stop furtherance of the emergency. Except for the entry of an ex parte order in accordance with (k)(2), the court shall set a hearing with notice to the parties to be held at the earliest possible time.

(2)     Ex Parte Order. An emergency order may be entered without notice to the parties if it appears from the facts shown by the affidavit or verified report that there is an immediate and present danger that the emergency situation will occur before the parties can be heard. No evidence other than the affidavit or verified report shall be used to support the emergency being reported unless the parties appear at the hearing or have received notice of a hearing. Every temporary order entered without notice in accordance with this rule shall be endorsed with the date and hour of entry, be filed forthwith in the clerk’s office, and define the injury or potential injury, state findings by the court why the injury or potential injury may be irreparable, and give the reasons why the order was granted without notice. The court shall provide the parties and attorney ad litem, if one is appointed, with a copy of the parenting coordinator’s affidavit or verified report giving rise to the ex parte order. A return hearing shall be scheduled if the court issues an emergency ex parte order.

(3)     Duration. The emergency order shall remain in effect until further order.

(4)     Motion to Dissolve or Modify Ex Parte Order. A motion to modify or dissolve an ex parte emergency order must be heard within 5 days after the movant applies for a hearing.

(l)      Written Communication with Court. The parenting coordinator may submit a written report or other written communication regarding any nonconfidential matter to the court. Parenting coordinators was required, pursuant to the parenting coordination section of Chapter 61, Florida Statutes, to report certain emergencies to the court without giving notice to the parties. The parenting coordinator shall use a form in substantial compliance with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.984(c) when reporting any emergency to the court, whether or not notice to the parties is required by law. If the parenting coordinator is unable to adequately perform the duties in accordance with the court’s direction, the parenting coordinator shall file a written request for a status conference and the court shall set a timely status hearing. The parenting coordinator shall use a form in substantial compliance with Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure Form 12.984(d) to request a status conference. When notice to the parties is required, the parenting coordinator must contemporaneously serve each party with a copy of the written communication.

(m)    Testimony and Discovery. A parenting coordinator shall not be called to testify or be subject to the discovery rules of the Florida Family Law Rules of Procedure unless the court makes a prior finding of good cause. A party must file a motion, alleging good cause why the court should allow the parenting coordinator to testify or be subject to discovery. The requesting party shall serve the motion and notice of hearing on the parenting coordinator. The requesting party shall initially be responsible for the parenting coordinator’s fees and costs incurred as a result of the motion.

(n)     Parenting Coordination Session. A parenting coordination session occurs when a party and the parenting coordinator communicate with one another. A parenting coordination session may occur in the presence or with the participation of persons in addition to a party and the parenting coordinator. Unless otherwise directed by the court, the parenting coordinator shall determine who may be present during each parenting coordination session including, without limitation, attorneys, parties, and other persons.

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