Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules

The Supreme Court of Florida amended the Florida Rules for Qualified and Court-Appointed Parenting Coordinators (“Parenting Coordinator Rules”). See In Re: Amendments to the Florida Rules for Qualified and Court-Appointed Parenting Coordinators, 345 So. 3d 714 (Fla. 2021).

Effective October 1, 2023, the Parenting Coordinator Rules define “coparent,”1 list many functions of a parenting coordinator, and say how a parenting coordinator may withdraw before the court okays the withdrawal. See In re: Amendments to the Florida Rules for Qualified and Court-Appointed Parenting Coordinators, Case No. SC2022-1704 (Fla. July 13, 2023).

Summary of Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules

Qualifications, Rostering, and Renewing: Part I

Florida’s Parenting Coordinator Rules have four parts. First, Part I of the Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules provides for qualifications and rostering of Parenting Coordinators. Each judicial circuit must create and maintain a roster of parenting coordinators. From the roster, a trial court may appoint a qualified parenting coordinator. Section 61.125, Florida Statutes provides for qualification and disqualification of Parenting Coordinators (PCs). See Parenting Coordinator Rules 15.000 – 15.020.

Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.020 states the chief judge or designee in each circuit shall require qualified PCs to renew their qualifications. To be included on the roster, PCs must submit a statewide renewal form and verify they’ve completed 16 hours of continuing PC education every two years. Renewals for qualified PCs and verification of continuing PC education are due on or before December 31 of every odd-numbered year.

Ethical Standards for Florida Parenting Coordinators: Part II

Second, Part II of the Parenting Coordinator Rules states ethical standards of professional conduct for parenting coordinators. See Parenting Coordinator Rules 15.200 – 15.299. The Florida Supreme Court amended Part II effective October 1, 2023.

These standards include parenting coordination concepts, functions, responsibilities to the courts, duties to explain the parenting coordination process, to clarify the PC’s role, and to stay neutral and free from outside pressure, bias, fear of criticism, or self-interest.

Discipline Procedures and Operating Procedures: Parts III and IV

Third, Part III of the Parenting Coordinator Rules states discipline procedures for PCs. See Parenting Coordinator Rules 15.300 – 15.385. For much more, see the discipline procedures below.

Finally, Part IV of the Parenting Coordinator Rules authorizes the Committee on Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules and Policy to promulgate, adopt, and amend operating procedures for training of PCs, for continuing PC education, and for approving and reporting compliance by PCs with the requirements. See Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.400.

What is Parenting Coordination?

Parenting coordination is a way coparents work with a neutral professional to resolve parenting disputes. When coparents are unsuccessful in working out disputes, a parenting coordinator assists them in creating or implementing a parenting plan. By educating coparents and making recommendations, parenting coordinators facilitate resolving disputes. In some cases, with the court’s and the parents’ prior authorization, parenting coordinators may make limited decisions when parents get stuck.

Fundamental Parenting Coordination Principles

Parenting coordination is based on communication, education, negotiation, facilitation, and problem-solving. Parenting coordinators integrate skills and knowledge drawn from mental health, law, and conflict resolution. See Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.020.

What Do Florida Parenting Coordinators Do?

We’ve seen what Parenting Coordination is. So what do Parenting Coordinators do?

According to Florida Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.205(b) (effective October 1, 2023), Parenting Coordinators’ functions include:

  1. Intake Process. A parenting coordinator must screen parties referred for services for suitability of the process.
  2. Assessment. A parenting coordinator must conduct ongoing assessment regarding appropriateness of parties for continuation in the parenting coordination process, the need for a referral to another professional for services, and the safety of family members and the parenting coordinator.
  3. Education. A parenting coordinator must educate parties on subject matters related to the coparenting of their children and coparenting skills.
  4. Coordination. A parenting coordinator may work with the professionals and systems involved with the family, as well as extended family, stepparents, and significant others.
  5. Case Management. A parenting coordinator must monitor compliance and violations of court orders regarding child-related matters.
  6. Conflict Management. A parenting coordinator helps parties resolve or manage child-related conflict.
  7. Decision-making. A parenting coordinator must only make decisions within the authority provided to the parenting coordinator as required or permitted by law, court rule, or court order.

Relationships with Other Professionals

Further, the Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules contemplate respecting and working with professionals from other disciplines. Parenting Coordinators:

“must respect the role of other professional disciplines in the parenting coordination process and must promote cooperation between parenting coordinators and other professionals.”

See Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.299 (Effective October 1, 2023)

The Collaborative Divorce process contemplates and welcomes such respect and cooperation with Parenting Coordinators and other Allied Professionals

In the next sections, we look at Parenting Coordinator Responsibilities under the Parenting Coordination Rules.

Parenting Coordinator Responsibilities

In Florida, besides what Parenting Coordinators do, they have multiple duties.

Candor, Ethics, Following the Rules

Among other duties, Parent Coordinators must:

  • be candid, accurate, and responsive to the court about their qualifications and availability (Rule 15.216(a));
  • inform the court consistent with court rules and statutes (Rule 15.216(b));
  • notify the court if a court order conflicts the PC’s ethical responsibilities (Rule 15.216(b));
  • prior to withdrawing, seek and get court approval, but may stop work prior to the court’s approving withdrawal (Rule 15.216(c));
  • comply with all statutes, court rules, local rules, and administrative orders relevant to the parenting coordination process (Rule 15.221);
  • refrain from doing anything that has the appearance of improperly influencing a court to get appointed for cases (Rule 15.226).

Qualifications, Education, Competence, Capacity

Parenting Coordinators must:

  • comply with qualification, training, and education requirements of statutes, rules, and the court (Rule 15.231);
  • have and maintain professional competence in parenting coordination (Rule 15.236(a));
  • turn down new appointments and withdraw when the PC’s ability to perform his or her duties is compromised, for example, by personal circumstances such as medical, mental health, or substance abuse or dependence (Rule 15.236(b)).

Explaining the PC’s Role and Process

Parenting Coordinators must educate participants. So, Parenting Coordinators must:

  • explain the Parenting Coordination Process (Rule 15.246 (a));
  • clarify the PC’s role and, when meeting with children, explain, in developmentally appropriate language, the role, provisions of confidentiality, and anticipated involvement of children in the process (Rule 15.246(b) and (c)).

Integrity, Diversity, Freedom from Coercion or Influence

Parenting Coordinators, further, must:

  • decline an engagement and do nothing that would compromise the PC’s integrity or that of the process (Rule 15.241(a));
  • respect diversity (Rule 15.241(b));
  • avoid coercion or improper influence on the parties (Rule 15.241(c)).

Impartiality, Neutrality, No Conflicts of Interest

Parenting Coordinators must act impartially and neutrally, free from bias and conflicts of interests. Thus, they must:

  • conduct the parenting coordination impartially and neutrally (Rule 15.251);
  • not serve as PC in a matter that presents an undisclosed or clear conflict of interest2 (Rule 15.256);
  • create no conflict of interest during service in the parenting coordination process (Rule 15.256(f)).

A Parenting Coordinator may only make recommendations and decisions the PC believes are in the best interest of the child. That means, a Parenting Coordinator can favor outcomes the Parenting Coordinator believes are in the child’s best interests. Doing so doesn’t breach the PCs duty of neutrality. Rule 15.251. 

Confidentiality and Records 

Regarding communications and records, Parenting Coordinators must:

  • maintain confidentiality of all communications made by, between, or among the parties and participants and parenting coordinator, except when disclosure is required or permitted by law or court order (Rule 15.261);
  • maintain, store, retain, and dispose of the PC’s records as required by the standards for Case Related Records Not in the Custody of the Clerk and/or Not in the Case File, as referenced in the State of Florida Judicial Branch Records Retention Schedule for Administrative Records appended to the Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration (Rule 15.281).

Meaningful Participation by Parties and Safety

When any party can’t participate meaningfully in the parenting coordination sessions, the Parenting Coordinator must terminate the process. 

Moreover, once the Parenting Coordinator decides continuing the process would be unsafe, the Parenting Coordinator must suspend the process and notify the court. Rule 15.286).

The above discussion summarizes Parenting Coordination, describes the process, and discusses Parenting Coordinators’ duties. In the next section, we look at discipline procedures of Parenting Coordinators under the Florida Parenting Coordinator Rules.

Florida Parenting Coordinators: Discipline Procedures

The Talent Pool

“PCRB” – Parenting Coordinator Review Board – 20 people, 4-year terms (3-term max)

  • 6 judges
  • 10 qualified parenting coordinators from professions eligible to be qualified parenting coordinators under section 61.125, Florida Statutes. At least 5 must be nonattorney parenting coordinators.
  • 4 Florida attorneys licensed at least 3 years with substantial family practice. Not qualified as parenting coordinators, not judicial officers during terms on PCRB, but who know and have experience with parenting coordination practice, statutes, procedures.

“RVCC” – Rule Violation Complaint Committee – Investigates the complaint.

  • 3 members of Parenting Coordinator Review Board – 1 judge or attorney (Chair of RVCC) + 2 qualified parenting coordinators.
  • The RVCC disbands after the Panel disposes of the case (and related cases as the Chief of Alternative Dispute Resolution deems appropriate) to which it is assigned.
  • Rule 15.270 grants RVCC jurisdiction and powers to conduct the proper and speedy investigation and disposition of any complaint.

The judge or attorney chairing the RVCC may compel:

(1) the attendance of any person at an RVCC meeting;

(2) any person to give statements, testimony, and depositions; and

(3) production of documents, records, and other evidence;

The RVCC shall perform its investigatory function and have concomitant power to resolve cases prior to panel referral.

The “Panel” – Adjudicates the formal charges associated with a rule violation complaint against a parenting coordinator.

The Panel comprises 3 members of the PCRB the DRC selects who didn’t serve on the RVCC.

Each panel shall have jurisdiction and powers to conduct the proper and speedy adjudication and disposition of any proceeding before it. The panel must perform the adjudicatory function, but no investigatory functions.

The panel chair may:

(1) compel the attendance of witnesses;

(2) issue subpoenas to compel the depositions of witnesses;

(3) order the production of records or other documentary evidence;

(4) hold anyone in contempt prior to and during the hearing;

(5) implement procedures during the hearing;

(6) determine admissibility of evidence; and

(7) decide motions prior to, during or subsequent to the hearing if related to the hearing.

Florida Parenting Coordinators – Contempt Process

Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.340(b) authorizes the chair of an RVCC or panel to hear motions for contempt or to hold anyone in contempt for conduct during the RVCC meeting or panel hearing. The chair files the order of contempt in the local court. The circuit court issues orders and judgments as the court deems appropriate.

Rule Violation Complaint (Rule 15.345)

Any person or the DRC files a Rule Violation Complaint with the DRC. If an individual files the complaint, it must be written, sworn to under oath, and notarized using a form the DRC supplies. If the DRC files the complaint, it doesn’t have to be sworn or notarized, but must be signed by the Chief of Alternative Dispute Resolution or DRC staff attorney.

The DRC assigns the complaint to the 3-person Rule Violation Complaint Committee (RVCC) and informs it of the parenting coordinator’s prior sanctions history, if any.

In 10 days after receiving a complaint from an individual, the DRC notifies the complainant of the receipt. The RVCC has a conference call to determine whether the allegations, if true, would constitute a violation of the parenting coordinator rules.

If the RVCC finds the complaint facially insufficient, it dismisses it without prejudice and notifies the complainant, who may refile within 20 days. If the RVCC finds the complaint facially sufficient, it lists the rule or rules the parenting coordinator may have violated and submits the list to the DRC.

The DRC serves the PC with the list of alleged rule violations, the complaint, and a link to the rules in effect at the time of the alleged violation.

The PC has 20 days from service to file with the DRC a sworn, written response.

Investigating the Complaint

Before or after the PC responds, the RVCC may direct the DRC to appoint an investigator to assist the RVCC and the RVCC may investigate the complaint if the RVCC chair authorizes the investigation. The investigation may include: meeting with the PC, the complainant, and anyone else.

To resolve the matter, the RVCC may meet or communicate with the complainant and PC, together or separately.

The parenting coordinator may agree to sanctions. Rule 15.360. The DRC distributes any consent agreement including sanctions to all circuits through the chief judges, all trial and appellate court administrators, and the ADR directors. The rules the parenting coordinator violated and consent agreement (with confidential information redacted) get published on the DRC’s page on the Florida Courts’ website https://www.flcourts.org/Resources-Services/Alternative-Dispute-Resolution/Rules-Discipline-Sanctions.

If there’s been no disposition, the RVCC reviews the complaint, response, any investigative report, underlying documentation, and determines if there’s probable cause to believe the alleged misconduct occurred and would constitute a violation of the Parenting Coordinator Rules. 

If NO probable cause, the RVCC dismisses the complaint with prejudice and advises the complainant and PC in writing. The decision is final.

If YES probable cause, the RVCC may:

  • Order formal charges be drafted and forwarded to the DRC for assignment to a panel.
  • Decide not to proceed by filing an order of nonreferral explaining why and advise the complainant and PC.

Florida Parenting Coordinators Hearing Panel Procedures (Rule 15.350)

Upon an RVCC’s referral of formal charges to the DRC, it must send the formal charges to the parenting coordinator and complainant.

The DRC retains a Prosecutor and may retain a panel adviser. Then the DRC assigns the case (and may assign related cases) to a hearing panel.

Absent stipulation of the parenting coordinator and PCRB or good cause, the DRC sets the hearing for a date 30 – 120 days from the assignment.

Before the hearing, the accused PC may admit to charges and panel may impose sanctions.

Formal Charges Against a Parenting Coordinator

The Hearing (Rule 15.350(i))

The Panel Chair must be physically present. The Florida Evidence Code applies.

Unless the parenting coordinator claims a privilege or right properly available under federal or state law, the parenting coordinator may be called as a witness to make specific and complete disclosure of all matters material to the issues.

Rule 15.350(i)(6) gives the parenting coordinator the rights to:

  • defend against all charges
  • examine and cross-examine witnesses
  • compel the attendance of any witness to testify
  • compel production of documents and other evidence through the panel’s subpoena power.

Burden of Proof (Rule 15.355)

The Prosecutor bears the burden of proof for rule violations. The burden of proof is clear and convincing evidence. Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.355.

Confidentiality (Rule 15.375)

All complaints alleging misconduct against parenting coordinators subject to disciplinary action under Florida’s Parenting Coordinator Rules, including the PC’s response and all other records made or received during the complaint procedure, are exempt from public disclosure under Florida Rules of General Practice and Judicial Administration 2.420(c)(3)(B). These materials stay confidential until a finding of probable cause or no probable cause is established, regardless of the outcome of any appeal.

Review (Rule 15.385)

Within 30 days of panel’s written decision, the parenting coordinator whom the Panel sanctions or finds has violated the Parenting Coordinator Rules may seek review by the chief circuit judge or designee of the circuit that qualified the PC in the case that gave rise to the underlying action.

The Florida Rules of Appellate Procedure control to the extent applicable or as modified by procedures for qualification and appeals of discipline of parenting coordinators as adopted in each circuit. The PC invokes the circuit court’s jurisdiction to review disciplinary action by submitting an original and one copy of a Notice of Review of Parenting Coordinator Disciplinary Action to the chief judge of the circuit or designee within 30 days of the panel’s written decision. A copy shall be provided to the DRC. A copy of the panel decision shall be attached to the notice. The standard of review of disciplinary action is competent substantial evidence.

Read More

Parenting Plans – Consent to Child’s Mental Health Treatment

Parental Responsibility and Decision Making

Shared Parental Responsibility and Sole Parental Responsibility

What If One Parent Disagrees With Other Parent’s Decision to Consent to a Child’s Mental Health Treatment?


  1. “Coparent” is defined as a party who is an individual who shares legal responsibility for a child with another individual, regardless of biological relationship or the circumstances under which responsibility has been initiated or defined, such as grandparents or guardians. Unless context requires otherwise, the term “parent” is used interchangeably with the term “coparent.” Parenting Coordinator Rule 15.205(a)
  2. Rule 15.261(d) says a “clear conflict of interest” includes: (1) the parenting coordinator (or the parenting coordinator’s spouse or domestic partner) is related by blood, adoption, or marriage to a person within the third degree of relationship to any of the parties, participants, or a participant’s spouse or domestic partner; (2) the parenting coordinator previously provided services to (other than parenting coordinator services) or represented one of the parties or participants in the matters at issue; and (3) the parenting coordinator is currently providing services to (other than parenting coordination services) or representing one of the parties or participants.
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