On April 23rd, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Rule 1915.11-1. The rule in it’s elementary form states that parent coordinators are no more and the only judges (and Masters) have the authority to make decisions in child custody cases.
The new Rule reads as follows:
Only judges may make decisions in child custody cases. Masters and hearing officers may make recommendations to the court. Courts shall not appoint any other individual to make decisions or recommendations or alter a custody order in child custody cases. Any order appointing a parenting coordinator shall be deemed vacated on the date this rule becomes effective (Editor’s Note: May 23, 2013). Local rules and administrative orders authorizing the appointment of parenting coordinators also shall be deemed vacated on the date this rule becomes effective.
The Superior Court’s decision in Yates v. Yates., 936 A.2d 1191 (2007), the role of parent coordinators were established and upheld. The revised rule of 1915.11-1, indicates that upon the recommendation of the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee and after an opportunity for public comment, supercedes the case law and renders null and void any existing parent coordinator role. In other words, if you are currently in a custody case with a parent coordinator, his or her job in the role is over!
1915.11-1 officially ends the quasi-judicial role of parent coordinators. The results of this situation remains to be seen, however, it could result in a spike in contempt and custody modification petitions.