Have you been dealing with parenting issues for 6 months or more - in Court or through other processes that never seem to work or end?

Have you recently separated, and you want to start off working amicably with the other parent to develop a structure and plan that meets the needs of your children?

Do you feel your child would benefit from you and their other parent working together to resolve parenting issues as they arise?

Parenting Coordinators are specially trained in resolving disputes between two or more caregivers for children. In addition to their training in Parenting Coordination they are also trained in mediation and arbitration.

The Parenting Coordinators at Foster LLP are Jennifer Shaften, Q.C. and Melanie Carter.

Each brings a unique perspective to their practice.

Jennifer represents children at all levels of Court in Alberta both in parenting and child welfare matters. She has attended numerous conferences and seminars on children and child development. She trains other lawyers to represent children and has created a settlement process that brings the voice of the child into her parenting coordination. Her methods ensure the resolutions reached by the parents/caregivers reflect the needs and interests of the children.

Melanie has therapeutic training stemming from her work at Hull Child and Family Services from 1993 to 2013. Just prior to starting her law studies she facilitated a therapeutic skills program (Dialectic Behaviour Therapy, or DBT) at the Drumheller Federal Institution. Her education, training, and experience at Hull and other organizations has resulted in a wealth of knowledge and the development of the skills needed to deal effectively with families affected by the issues that arise from the breakdown of relationships. She has extensive experience working with children and youth and has a keen understanding of the impact felt by children when the family unit dissolves.

Parenting Coordination has three components:

  • Mediation
  • Education
  • Arbitration

The parent/caregivers meet with the Parenting Coordinator to determine what issues they are struggling with.  

The Parenting Coordinator can then provide some education around those issues.

For instance if you struggle with communication, the parenting coordinator can give you some information and training on how to focus your communication on the issues, not on the people.

Or, as another example, if you struggle with smaller parenting issues such as appropriate bedtimes for a child the parenting coordinator can provide you with information on child development to assist with that.

The education component occurs throughout the process.

In Mediation the parents present issues for discussion and then discuss those issues with the assistance of the parenting coordinator.  In Mediation, you, the parents, control the content (the information and agreements) and the parenting coordinator controls the process (how the information is shared and when the mediation needs to be directed).

If through education and mediation you are unable to reach agreement, then the parenting coordinator is authorized to make a decision.  That is the arbitration part.  

The arbitration can be formal – you both give evidence under oath and the parenting coordinator produces an award that is final and binding.  

The arbitration can be more informal – you both agree that you have discussed the issue thoroughly in the presence of the parenting coordinator and you cannot agree and you simply turn to the Parenting Coordinator and say “tell us what to do”.  That decision is also final and binding.

Our hourly rate is $300 per hour.  

You have the option of paying by the hour, or starting with a retainer.

If you come in with several issues you need determined right away, it is better to start with a retainer.  

If you have ongoing issues that you need help with from time to time, you can do pay-per-session.

Report writing takes place after the parenting sessions and is charged at the same hourly rate.

If you are interested in retaining our office, please contact Dana Hicks at 403-261-8347.  

She will need the names of the parents/caregivers and the names of the children to run a conflict check.

Dana will also assist you in booking your sessions with one of our Parenting Coordinators.