Law and Mediation Offices of Julia Whitelaw
Phone: 415-968-5909
Fax: 415-874-1989


1108 Fifth Avenue, Suite 200
San Rafael, CA 94901




Call for a free 30 minute consultation

Parenting Coordination/Special Master Services

If you have completed the divorce process, yet still have difficulty communicating with each other about the details of sharing parental responsibility and/or if you are constantly finding yourself back in court over the details of raising your children, Julia can act as a parenting coordinator. She will utilize her unique set of skills to help facilitate communication and cooperation and expand the opportunity for agreement, avoiding the necessity of court intervention, a time-consuming and costly prospect that usually results in dissatisfaction on all sides and worse yet, can be damaging to your children.

Exactly what is parenting coordination?

Parenting coordination is a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process for high conflict parents with a history of ongoing child-related disputes. The parenting coordination process, also called special master process, combines dispute assessment, conflict reduction, case management, mediation, parent education and often, arbitration. Parenting coordinators are usually mental health professionals or family law attorneys with expertise in high conflict divorce, parenting plans, custody and child development who have experience in negotiation and mediation.

Parenting coordinators usually serve for a specified period of time by court order or private parent consent agreements with the objective of analyzing and resolving child-related disputes, reducing conflict between co-parents by improving communication and problem solving skills, monitoring implementation of the parenting plan and clarifying the plan where necessary to reduce future potential points of conflict, focusing on the children needs by providing education on development and acting as a channel of communication for children when necessary.

The ultimate goals are to reduce known risk factors associated with poor outcomes in children following divorce, promote protective factors linked to more positive outcomes for children, work with parents to reduce reliance on litigation and the courts and to stem the drain on family resources.

Parenting coordinators help parents settle issues of parenting time/scheduling including holidays and vacations, temporary variances, education/daycare, healthcare management, recreational and enrichment activities, changes in the parenting plan consistent with children development, role of significant others, communication between parents, etc. When parents are unable to reach settlement on such matters, parenting coordinators can make decisions that have the effect of law. On larger decisions, such as changes in legal or physical custody or major timeshare adjustments, the parenting coordinator may make a recommendation to the court, but the ultimate decision will be for the judge. The parenting coordinator is not providing therapy, performing a custody evaluation or assessment, diagnosing psychological conditions, or acting as a legal representative.

Julia's experience as a family law attorney, her knowledge of the law and her training in counseling psychology leave her uniquely positioned to act as a parenting coordinator, bringing together the best of both worlds to help parents make decisions in the best interests of their children and, when parental agreement is not possible, to make reasoned well-informed, balanced, clear decisions that will give due weight to all interests and needs in light of the law.

The Law and Mediation Offices of Julia Whitelaw offers family law services to clients located throughout the Bay Area, including in Marin, Sonoma, San Francisco and Alameda counties. This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.