Affirmation of Review of Parent Coordinator Decision

March 2013Articles Pennsylvania Family Lawyer

Pennsylvania formalized the use of parent coordinators in custody cases several years ago when the Superior Court rendered its 2008 opinion in the case of Yates v. Yates. As part of the Yates decision, the Superior Court held that the appointment of a parent coordinator in a high-conflict custody case was a reasonable exercise of discretion and did not constitute the delegation of judicial authority to a quasi-judicial body (i.e., the parent coordinator). The Superior Court also established the parties' due process rights to a de novo review of the parent coordinator's decision by the trial court. A de novo review means that the court is taking a completely fresh look at the issue and is not obligated to make or accept the same conclusions, interpretations or issue the same or­ der as the prior level did (in this case, the parent coordinator); its job is to look at all of the information as though it is brand new to everyone and reach a decision based on the evidence presented.

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