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Parenting Coordination — Invented, Promoted, only Slightly Demoted.. (May, 2013 recap)

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This page arises from a word-of-mouth alert to a rule-change in Pennsylvania which abolishes! the use of parent coordinators. Now that’s unusual….

So, I decided to collate some prior posts, off-line discussion topics, links and information on a single page here

No pretense at thorough analysis — just links, for others who may not be aware of how the franchise system works, and why only looking at ONE state’s activities will never be good enough. It’s much simpler to develop an awareness of the key associations, some of their personnel, and simply pay attention! Many times parents are so busy talking about their own cases, their own courts, following their own advocacy groups, they just forget to watch what else is going on. I know I did, until a few kind souls explained to me: Federal Funding, and how Judges, Attorneys, and Psychologists (individually and collectively) formed nonprofits to get the grants and contracts. Overall, it’s not that complex — it’s just a network!

My main interest is in, “How do they DO it?” I think people ought to know, and address the process of inventing professions in the manufacturing stage — and not just the problems the professions cause at the output stage — which is in a custody ruling.

At the bottom are links to previous posts (at least four), and a forum topic from Pennsylvania with yet more links, done a few years ago. I was simply studying the system, taking notes, and noticing that you can NEVER look just within one state to understand the system.

The key is to a centrally coordinated network of “what’s our next move?” — and that’s the trade associations who are functioning within public civil servant positions. They are setting up model programs and through the downloadable material available in conferences, able to circulate it so the public thinks it’s just “the next new thing” — when in fact it goes like this: AFCC is probably the main central coordinating outfit, BUT its memberships have all other kinds of professional affiliations, which are highlighted to show credibility. If you know the language, know the general jargon, and know the flora and fauna, it’s pretty simple to pick out an AFCC member in action in nearly any state, or jurisdiction.

Why the rule change?

Possibly the courts figured out they were going to have a fight on their hands on this one… Or, it may be that a certain parent coordinator out of Lackawanna County is just a little too high-profile at this point. I speak of the Termini Connection, which made (dis)honorable mention in an AOPC review of the Guardian Ad Litem programs not too long ago. Turns out that Termini — with connections to Harhut (AFCC judge) and Ross (NACC GAL recently charged with tax evasion) is just a little too close fro comfort — and it’s pretty obvious, wherever those training funds from the “Cooperative Parenting Institute” went — they don’t appear to be registered on a tax return ?? More below.

There are not chump change trainings, either — $450 or so a pop..:

[[Earlier post where I tried to track it down. Eventually, I lost interest…]]

The Cooperative Parenting Institute is an internationally recognized leader providing high quality parenting coordination training programs.  Since 1997, the CPI has dominated the field of parenting coordination by creating the only comprehensive step-by-step PC training model.  The Institute offers 20-24-26 hour parenting coordination and parenting facilitation (Texas) training opportunities each year.   Louisiana professionals interested in training should take the Texas training with an additional 2 hours. 

A 12-hour advanced training is available for the experienced parenting coordinator.  The training programs meet the requirements established by state statutes.  In addition, the presenters are available for custom designed training in your local area. 

Susan Boyan, LMFT and Ann Marie Termini, LPC are recognized leaders and innovative trainers.  As skilled parenting coordinators, since 1991 and 1993 respectively,  Ann Marie and Susan have facilitated many complex and highly conflictual divorce cases.  They have drawn on their extensive experience, research and interactive approach to prepare professionals for the challenging role of a parenting coordinator. 
2013 Three-Day Basic Training Dates & Details

April 11-13, 2013:  Pittsburgh, PA | Trainer:  Ann Marie Termini
June 13-15, 2013:  Atlanta, GA | Trainer:  Susan Boyan
August 14-16, 2013:  Chicago, IL | Trainer:  Susan Boyan
September 12-14, 2013:  King of Prussia, PA | Trainer:  Ann Marie Termini
October 2-4, 2013: PARENTING FACILITATION TRAINING (24-HR) | (Dallas Area), TX | Trainer: Ann Marie Termini
November 14-16, 2013:  Atlanta, GA  | Trainer:  Susan Boyan
International Training
January 28-31, 2013:  Hong Kong, China | Trainer:  Ann Marie Termini

The key to slush funds (when and where they are in operation) appears to center around trainings. So, whether or not the people or organizations doing the trainings — are complying with state incorporation laws (or not) — is a BIG deal, and a BIG indicator! Again, one key to starting up any profession includes, in part, running the trainings for it. Benefits — CLE write-offs, mutual self-promotion, telling the public it’s real quality control, etc.

Florida worked really hard to get Parenting Coordination passed. Look at the price tag for training in 2013, and who’s conducting it, where: Debra Carter and Hugh Starnes. Both, Florida AFCC. Carter represents the Psychologist factor, and Hugh Starnes is Judge. $495. This is at University of South Florida, Conflict Resolution Collaborative (note beautiful brochure colors). We simply do not realize HOW ENTRENCHED this one group (AFCC) is, throughout the justice system.

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Here, this training provides “Continuing Education Credits” whether someone is: Attorney, Social Worker, Psychologist, Medical (!), or Mediator. Now, how motivated will people in those fields be to step up and qualify themselves to be parent coordinators under a statute that the FL-AFCC helped ram through legislature, over a 2004 objection from Gov. Jeb Bush? (Plenty ……). This means, that those parent coordinators are also going to pick up the “parental alienation” lingo that’s laced throughout AFCC’s DNA…

People who get the training can then go set up their website, form THEIR corporations, and start billing. Here’s “Co-Parenting Solutions, Inc.” in Texas. Both people mentioned got there training (above), and both mention AFCC membership. AFCC definitely supports its own! They are all over the internet. Here’s someone from Vienna, VA — it reads pretty well the same throughout the web: third person singular, and of course it’s to alleviate Conflict, which is in this world view, “bad.”
. . .



The Tennessee Bar Association has a long and detailed article on “parent coordinators,” notice 2nd paragraph mentions AFCC: Parenting Coordinators, the Good, the Bad and the Ugly. It doesn’t really matter, when promoting a field, whether people think it’s a lousy field or not, and valid reasons for thinking so. The way it’s promoted is to collectively — through AFCC, ABA, APA, individual law firm sites, people who have sat through the PC training (talk about a little financial investment as an incentive to promote — see Amway, Avon, or any other direct-marketing scheme) and then set up their own corporations to market the concept — it’s all publicity.

The thing is to continue talking about it like it’s an objective reality — or an “emerging” field, as the tender grass springs forth out of the moist earth, just naturally — instead of an artificially advertised and created reality — to handle another created-concept, “high-conflict families.”


So, here’s a few AFCC professionals talking about PARENT COORDINATION FOR HIGH-CONFLICT FAMILIES. Look at the fine print (bottom of page): “co. 2003, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts.” At the top of the publication, we find a few names:

Christine A. Coates // Robin Deutsch // Hugh Starnes // Matthew J. Sullivan** // BeaLisa Sydlik**

They are from different states, (Florida, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, etc.) and with different specialities — but the commonality is their nonprofit membership serious commitment to the practices and policies of the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts. Some will be faculty (Deutsch), some Judges (Starnes), some maybe attorneys (Coates), some just plain psychologists (Sullivan) — but all are AFCC. Primetime (Coates has been president, Deutch is VERY well known). I’d not heard of BeaLisa Sydlik before, but see she is an attorney in Oregon — and also (see link) STAFF COUNSEL, FAMILY LAW — COURT PROGRAM AND SERVICES DIVISION. [2008 reference].

**Matthew J. Sullivan’s primary site seems to be “CaliforniaParentingCoordinator.com” but that link is to an “Overcoming Barriers” (Reunification -style) Family Camp — with Peggie Ward, and a retired SF Family Court Commissioner (Slabach, The Honorable Marjorie), go figure… Only $9,000.00 for a five-day camp….Not bad business if you can get it. My understanding of previous years was they got customers mostly by court-order.

Starnes (Florida, 20th Judicial Circuit) has been President of AFCC, AND of the Florida Chapter. (This gets interesting as we are confirming — AFCC is not registered to do business in Wisconsin, where all its materials say its HQ are. A recent chapter of its nonexistent self IS recently registered there, but not AFCC proper.

See other recent pages (Look It Up) or AFCC, a User’s Manual. I also blogged some other AFCC-Florida personnel’s nonprofit shenanigans (manipulations) on other LGH posts here, when a woman in Florida called and asked about them. CorporationWiki presently shows 2 companies he’s involved with (not the one I’d looked at earlier) (not sure why the courts themselves are showing as a corporation …..)

Hugh E. Starnes Vice President, Director and President at Restorative Juvenile Justice Project, Inc. [[address: looks like public buildings. Formed 1998, dissolved for failure to (ever) file a financial report, and it doesn’t show an EIN#. NOTE: this name is the type of name of organizations getting OJJDP grants. Might be worth a follow up to see if any money came its way! Other public officers involved… Or, it might just have been a “false start.”]]
Director at Community Coordinating Council of Lee County, [[This one, formed in 1965, merged into United Way of Florida]].
Partner at Judiciary Courts of The State of Florida
Fort Myers, FL

Here’s a 2013 Yelp Review of Sullivan from a Man in Palo Alto:

Although Matt had a good reputation in past years and is well known, he is unraveling with deleterious effects in case after case.  He was a recommending mediator in our case for a while and we got to know him at close range. He is charming and appears authoritative but, in my opinion, behind the front lies an ego-driven and unscrupulous man.  In numerous conversations I have had with family law professionals who have experience with him, the message is the same: stay away.  Likewise, I would encourage you and your -ex to talk to a range of professionals with experience with him to get perspective. If your attorney recommends him, be aware that a special master, evaluator or mediator has tremendous power which can be used punitively against those who would oppose them, a breeding ground for collusion. Unfortunately, I strongly advise against working with Matt in any role.

An April 30, 2003 publication shows that, of the people mentioned above, BeaLisa Sydlik was considered the lead author. Here’s a 34-page publication, adding a few more names on a task force (AFCC, that is) to push parenting coordination indicating the field was too new to have “standards of practice” yet. VERY significant is the presence of Philip Stahl, California (now he’s “Arizona”) — as he is known for prolific writings on Parental Alienation.

This adds personnel: a judge from Arizona, North Carolina, Ohio, and Nevada (Phil Bushard, DPA)

Phil Bushard (as of at least 2005) was working as a Court Mediator in Washoe COunty, Nevada. Here he is recommending through a court administrator, that the Board of County Supervisors yes, DO, accept that $32,000 Access Visitation Grant. (Read, for Details of its Description) There is absolutely no question that this is to enhance NONcustodial Parenting opportunities (that’s a function of mediation — to get the noncustodial parent (aka father) more parenting time) — and that they are recommending a Colleague, contractor Nancy Cleaves, continue to get the grant. Also she sat through 60 hours of Parent Coordination Training, in fact, if AFCC offered the training, looks like she was in it…$100 to $300 an hour. Rest assured, this is supported through funding taken from WELFARE…. Bushard and Cleaves are both on “Nevada Dispute Resolution Coalition,” here, etc. I just checked with Nevada Secretary of State, and this organization is DISSOLVED as of March 2013 (it had been formed in 2000), and showed Phil Bushard as Treasurer…. Basically, the same people then incorporated a NEW Nonprofit called “NDRC, a Nevada Nonprofit Corporation” in February 2013. Same address for registered agent, but this is now a PO Box. Sound familiar yet?

In Maine, as elsewhere // Keep an Eye on the Training Organizations, and Proposed Rule Changes

Here’s Toby Hollander, Esq. from Maine — in fact Toby and another person set up the GAL Institute (training). Toby is also a Parenting Coordinator: “A Parent Coordinator IS….” mentioning that in 2010 Maine passed a statute enabling the court to FORCE a PC onto a case even over the objections of BOTH parties! They are supposed to “consider” domestic violence, and the parties have to pay.

January, 2013 — again, through RULES changes, the same are trying to keep PC’s in operation:

With little or no fanfare, the State of Maine Judicial Branch is asking for public comment on Proposed Rules for Parent Coordinators

The Supreme Judicial Court is considering these proposed Rules for Parenting Coordinators. These rules were drafted and proposed by the Maine Guardian Ad Litem Institute (the trade organization founded by Toby Hollander – that promotes the special interests of Guardians ad litem within the state). At the same time there is a bill submitted by Representative Terry Hayes (D – Buckfield and MEGALI member) that essentially asks to retain the position of Parental Coordinators in the Judicial Branch (HP 42). The bill is to repeal the termination of the current law set for January 1, 2014.

To get that straight: There is a PRIVATE trade organization, created by a lawyer Toby Hollander, called “MEGALI” to promote the interests of GALs in Maine. It so happens that one member is also a state Representative, Terry Hayes (apparently her qualifications includes one BA from “Bowdoin college” — in what, it doesn’t show). So one person in the private trade corporation proposes RULES to prevent the termination of the PC role (otherwise slated for 2014) and the OTHER submits a bill to keep Parent Coordinators! Terry Hayes bills (it says) $125/hour, $2,500 retainer for GAL, and just got a new website going — but that’s no conflict of interest (sure, right…..). [[by the way, corporate registration for this group in Maine is where??? And if it’s not known, what happens to payments for the trainings?]]

The money is in the training, for sure. A group is on top of (at least functioning as an alert) on the system:

Can Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute discuss our cases?
We include the following from Maine Guardian ad Litem Institute home page for your information:

2012 May 30: Parental Alienation [[Note: the page has been moved; no longer on the website…]]

From what we can tell, some of Maine’s Guardians ad litem held a alleged teaching session the day before the Judicial Branch (JB) hearing in Portland on May 31st. The Guardian ad litem Institute which is the trade organization for Maine GALs, was the sponsor and charged ($155.00 for members; $175.00 for non-members) for a session to share GAL “war stories” about their client’s “parental alienation”. Was your family’s case or mine providing the assembled GALs with an afternoon of “stories from their case books?”

While I cannot (for now) locate the corporate registration of this GAL institute it had (today, 5/3/2013) looks like a meeting, with speaker Dr. Ben Garber, and for CLE fees, a training, fees $125.
Benjamin D. Garber, Ph.D. (not ‘MD” as the name “Dr.” might imply) is — well, who he is….Including co-founder of Parent Coordinators Association of New Hampshire, and member of the MASSACHUSETTS GAL Association, AFCC member, etc.


Let “parent coordination promotion” be a lesson, and next time round, parents and other taxpayers across the land ought to pay better attention to whether or not the local presiding judges, state supreme court justices, domestic relations committees, Governors’ Task Forces, etc. — are, or are not being driven by an Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (and their friends) agenda.

Yes, AFCC did Invent the Concept. However even the phrase “parent coordinator” is hardly original — looks like it comes from the public education sector, before being adopted for court use: paid liaisons between school and parents, $43million NYC, or about $40K a pop, back in 2003/2004.

AFCC takes credit for “spearheading” entire areas of practice in family law, as an organization. Here’s from a “Call for Proposals” (deadline now passed) for the May, 2013 (that’s THIS month) Los Angeles Conference, called “Global Voices, Expanding Choices: Riding the Wave of the Future.” (i.e., allegedly 2013 represents 50 years of AFCC, now they’re planning the next 50….)…

Notice the fields of practice named (memorize the list, post it on any refridgerator, bookmark it, remember it).
AFCC takes credit, in the above publication (not found on your courthouse door, or self-help center…):

  • no-fault divorce
  • joint custody
  • mediation
  • collaborative law
  • unified family courts
  • parenting coordination
  • differentiated case management##
  • parent education
  • and “myriad hybrid DISPUTE RESOLUTION processes.

(##how to steer cases into specialized courts)

Most of these areas pose major problems for spouses or partners attempting to handle criminal matters, violence, or abuse of an immediate family member, which includes incest, assault and battery, kidnapping, interference with visitation, and all kinds of egregious and life-disturbing, life-altering behavior. REST ASSURED, the family court professionals, after having invented the concept of family courts, conciliation courts, and the brilliant concept that a crime is not really a crime, but a DISPUTE — are coming to the “rescue,” while narrating their own greatness (and how problemmatic are the “frequent-flyer parents).”

Anyhow, obviously PARENTING COORDINATION is still on the list. It’s just one page — take a look at the terms again. When you see professional bios, and rules of court, conference presentations, (etc.) laced with those terms — now you know where they came from. Google the term “parenting coordination rules” for a quick overview on how these things are promoted.

Thus, I don’t think this struggle is over just because in one state, “New Rule: No Parent Coordinators Allowed.” Posted 4/23/2013 by Aaron Weems.**(font or style changes in the quote, mine, not author’s).

Remember earlier this year when I wrote about the Superior Court’s ruling that a party has a right to a de novo hearing for a custody coordinator’s decision? Well, forget all of that.  As of today, April 23rd, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court adopted Rule 1915.11-1 which states that parent coordinators are no more and the only judges 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 role of the parent coordinator was established and upheld by the Superior Court in the Yates decision in 2008.  The revised Rule, which was adopted by the Supreme Court upon the recommendation of the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee and after an opportunity for public comment, supersedes the case law and renders null and void any existing parent coordinator order.   

So ends the quasi-judicial role of parent coordinators.  Whether this results in an uptick of contempt and custody modification petitions remains to be seen, but as it was so eloquently put by the (clearly exasperated) trial judge in the A. H. vs. C.M. case (in which the Superior Court upheld the right to a de novo review of a parent coordinator’s decision) judges may need to brace themselves to deal with an increased amount of “some talent show communication[s].”

TAGS: Custody, coordination, coordinator, de, novo, parent, review, rule

I’m all in favor of shutting down the corporations which are coordinating themselves to force parenting programs on the public through:  administrative rules of court, conferencing out of state with each other to “coordinate” how to force it on a given state, setting up “Task Forces” to study a specialized term which has been previously publicized, and setting up organizations to recommend it, and eventually, by simply pushing relentlessly, getting the laws changed to accommodate whichever is the Flavor of the Day Professional Niche.

So much of this is done by civil servants on the public payroll already, but through PRIVATE (Nonrepresentational) conferences, associations, and publications. Away from the public focus and eye, these are strategized and then promoted. Because the system for coordinating this type of promotion is already in place — and the funding for the same — it’s almost at the whim of the Board of Directors of whichever are the top two or three associations, to pick something they want, promote it, push it, set up “pilot programs” for it, conduct “evaluations” of the same, fly around the country (and world), running up hotel, conference, and travel bills (either on the public dole, or as a deductible nonprofit expense), and simply Make It Happen.

I first learned about Parenting Coordination when a jubilant set of declarations of victory came out over a single (New Hampshire?) case where a mother was punished for “Parental Alienation.” Looking at the case, you could easily see three hot-shot individuals were on board, quoting each other. I looked up those individuals, saw what they were doing, and ended up at “PCANH.org” Look at the handbook, examples of how to deride and degrade the mother. Note acknowledgements, they are quoting from an Indiana-based corporation, “Families Moving Forward, Inc.” They hang with each other, quote each other, help each other, talk about each other, and promote mutual self-interest.

I just looked (again) at Families Moving Forward, Inc. corporation status (an Indiana Nonprofit, formed in only 2005, I didn’t scour the net, but so far — don’t see any tax returns. And it’s a nonprofit. Here’s the Indiana Parenting Coordinator Training pdf that NH probably quoted from. The people listed up front are a close match to those who formed the nonprofit. Look at the fields of practice, and notice at least one Commissioner (if not judge) is on there. Corporation formed in 2005, Parent Coordination Guide put out in 2005. Coincidence? Presented at an Indiana Continuing Legal Education seminar. The process is grindingly the same.

“Parenting Coordination Committee OF (this corporation) includes: 4 psychologists ((all “clinical,” of course), three attorneys, a social worker (clinical) and a Superior Court Commissioner for Marion County (Indianapolis, I think). Indiana is a real fatherhood outpost as well. The Superior Court Commissioner in question (The Hon. Victoria M. Ransberger) I noticed is getting a lot of her rulings appealed. Here’s one where the sone of father’s girlfriend molested their child (gender not shown), enter all the counseling. His child support arrearage was reduced to zero and he got full custody. In another one, a mother sought to appeal transfer of custody to the father, but the trial court hadn’t kept a record of hearings…


Continuing Legal Education is a fund-raiser, and a focus.

As fast as the AFCC can come up with professions (and make no mistake, Parenting Coordination was one of those professions, it took a well-coordinated effort to establish and lobbying over others objections), parents are complaining, by lawsuits, about it. A recent De Novo Review standard on parent coordinators is apparently now in place, maybe that’s good — for parents that have the resources to continue to fight in court. BUT that still doesn’t solve the basic problem of what I call “the Cults in the Courthouse” or the fact that private interest, private promote-my-profession trade association nonprofits (AFCC, ABA, APA, NACC, AJA, CRC, NCSC you name it — but primarly AFCC).

PA Bar Newsletter March 2013, “The Family Lawyer,” summarizes the recent De Novo Decision (p. 5). I have left off following Pennsylvania closely for a while — but on getting this information through word-of-mouth, decided to collate some prior links on this particular field. Not intended to be comprehensive, or that analytical.

Author of article notes he is a colleague of parenting coordinator referenced in the “Natalie Famous,” in the Yates v. Yates case. Notice in the fine print, she also runs CLE courses including a course to “discuss and train parent coordinators in Bucks County.”

The Termini/Boyan Factor

(Pennsylvania-Georgia connection):

Parenting Coordination is a Psychoeducational Program,” As part of the AOPC’s “Judicial Programs Review,” JUNE 2012 report on the Lackawanna County GAL Program, in which (see ‘FBI raids Lackawanna County Courthouse’) the local civilians were primarily focused on one GAL, Danielle Ross, you can see on page 101ff a “Parenting Coordination Is” section — with footnotes to a 1997 book by Susan Boyan and Anne Marie Termini! Talk about marketing platforms — location, location, location — sales are good out of the local county courthouses, endorsed at the highest judicial administrative units of the state, practically….

p. 35 establishes a personnel trio of Judge Harhut, GAL Ross, and Training Administrator, Termini. “Judge Harhut established mandatory continuing education and training for GALs that began in 2003. Ms. Termini was put in charge of developing and overseeing the training program. The last “training” was an informational seminar about the new GAL program by Judge Harhut and Ms. Ross at the bench/bar conference held in 2008. When asked why there had been no mandatory continuing education and training in the lsat several years, no one seemed to know.” (say, “huh?”……)

Read for comic relief and to note that Harhut is an AFCC Presiding Judge over the Unified Family Court, a concept that got a little help setting up from a virtual AFCC outpost over in Baltimore (“Blueprint for Unified Family Courts” This concept seems basic to understand — shows operational tactics for nationwide centralizing control of individual county or state courts for dispensing therapy (Therapeutic Jurisprudence) at public expense..The ABA also promotes (with private funding) for drug courts — “Treat the Whole Family,” pilot programs.).

The review was of the GAL program, however, Section VIII, “Other programs” includes a “New Parenting Coordination Agreement” section — which is, to put it bluntly, simply lifted from an old book put out by Ms. Termini & Ms. Boyan. In the process of this report, it developed that no one really knew what Ms. Termini did, and she’d been offered a contract, but didn’t take it, and has been working without contract since, roughly 1997/1998. The report is dated 2012……


Yeah, as Pennsylvania seems a key state for custody problems (Kids for Cash, Luzerne County; FBI Raids Courthouse, Lackawanna County, Sandusky, etc. — it’s also a key state for one of the larger and older Coalitions Against Domestic Violence (PCADV).    The FBI lawsuit and major press seemed directed mostly at a certain GAL, it appears that her association with an AFCC judge, being an NACC (National Association of Counsel for Children) member, and an infamous Parent Coordinator duo, Termini (Pennsylvania), Boyan (Georgia) and their disappearing-act corporation status, “parent coordination central”

(Feb. 24, 2012 post shows the products being sold over at Parent Coordination Central, links to Scranton Political Times, a forum whose moderator pointed out that Ms. Termini was functioning in public property without a lease, or contract (and more), which revealed a trio of Lackawanna participants in 2009 at a Brooklyn-based, multi-organization conference, including the NACC (think “AFCC” only focused more on child welfare law and getting more work for GALs).

Yates v. Yates, “a Seminal Case”

— 2008 Appeal with built-in AFCC self-promo pargraphs:

While parents were starting to protest and sue about parent coordinators (it’s quite a history), the PCADV kind of went along with the crowd.  

Here’s a PCADV “Domestic Violence and Parent Coordination” in their April 2009 newsletter for judges (“The Jurist”) about this Yates v. Yates case where a father sued; he was trounced, and the Bar Association was found later gloating over it. PCADV is basically saying, hey so long as we can keep instructing everyone about DV, so what?

Feb. 2009 Philadelphia Lawyer Brief on “Yates v. Yates:

The Appeal (superior court PA) argued Oct. 2008-Dec. 2008 mentions AFCC at least twice (paras. 7 & 8)


David T. YATES, Appellant v. Jackie YATES, Appellee.

Argued Oct. 1, 2008. — December 31, 2008

Howard J. Bashman, Willow Grove, for appellant. Charissa J. Liller, New Hope, for appellee.

¶ 1 David Yates (“Father”) appeals from the custody order entered on February 15, 2007, wherein the trial court granted shared legal custody of Ashley Yates to Father and Jackie Yates (“Mother”), awarded Father primary physical custody, and appointed a parenting coordinator to help the parties implement the custody order.   We affirm in part, vacate in part, and remand with instructions.

¶ 2 In a prior appeal, this Court succinctly summarized the salient facts and procedural history of this contentious litigation as follows:

The battle for custody of [Ashley] began in 2002.   The battle has been intense, involving many hearings in open court, as well as many settlement conferences.   By late 2006, the parties had identified physical custody as a critical matter and had, to some extent at least, agreed to basic terms of physical custody and further agreed that, given the unrelentingly contentious relationship between the parents of [Ashley], a highly detailed final custody order would be required.   The lower court then directed the parties to submit proposed terms for such a detailed custody order.   The lower court’s review of the parties’ proposals revealed, perhaps predictably, certain points of agreement and certain points of disagreement.   A hearing was held on February 2, 2007 in order to allow each parent an opportunity to present the merits of their respective proposals to the court before the court entered a final custody order.

At the February 2, 2007 hearing, [Father] began by urging that the level of cooperation between the parties was insufficient to allow shared legal custody, noting that [Mother] objected to [Father’s] proposed annual meetings to review the ongoing vitality of the custody arrangements as [Ashley] matures, and preferred that the court appoint a parent coordinator, and, thereafter, proceeded to articulate other, more detailed, issues of disagreement.   [Mother’s] presentation substantially tracked that of [Father], reinforcing the reasons for [Mother’s] disagreement with various terms proposed by [Father], and familiarizing the court with the concept of appointing a parent coordinator to settle day-to-day parenting disputes</strong?.

References to AFCC in re: this field:

¶ 7 Since the trial court relied upon the appointment of a parenting coordinator to bolster its decision to grant mother shared legal custody, we begin by addressing that issue.

 ¶ 8 Parenting coordination is a relatively novel concept in Pennsylvania.   Its purpose is to shield children from the effects of parenting conflicts and to help parents in contentious cases comply with custody orders and implement parenting plans.2  The Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (“AFCC”), an interdisciplinary multi-jurisdictional association of professionals that appointed a task force to develop model standards of practice for parenting coordination, defined parenting coordination as a child-focused alternative dispute resolution process in which a mental health or legal professional with mediation training and experience assists high conflict parents to implement their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of their disputes in a timely manner, educating parents about children’s needs, and with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, making decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.

[[**italicized terms are “AFCC” “tells” — the organization was formed, if not consistently “incorporated,” properly that is — to promote exactly those fields…. Best way to learn about this organization, or one way, is to actually listen to their membership promoting it, in third person..whenever the opportunity presents. That may be a little easier if one is a judge… ]]

Anderer, supra at 1082.   See also Guidelines for Parenting Coordination, 44 Family Court Review 164-181 (2005).   According to the AFCC task force, parent coordination is most appropriate in cases where, as here, “high-conflict parents have demonstrated their longer-term inability or unwillingness to make parenting decisions on their own, to comply with parenting agreements and orders, to reduce their child-related conflicts, and to protect their children from the impact of that conflict.”  44 Family Court Review 164,

Let me review that ONE more time: We have a Court of Appeals decision who’s about to nix a father’s protest of parenting coordination (he consented to start with somewhere along the way), and IN this ruling, to introduce this “relatively new concept” the Court itself references: An AFCC Task force, in an AFCC publication called the Family Court Review:

Family Court Review being itself, naturally, an AFCC/University of Hofstra production from top to bottom (check it out!):

Family Court Review: (link has graphic also, check it out!

AFCC’s quarterly journal, Family Court Review, is the leading interdisciplinary academic and research journal for family law professionals. Published in cooperation with the Center for Children, Families and the Law at Hofstra University School of Law

Anderer, referenced above, is probably Steven J. Anderer, J.D. and on the Parenting Coordination Task Force (note footnote — so is AFCC board member freom Pennsylvania, Arnold Shienvold, and the remarkable Ann Marie Termini, ..plus a smattering of judges…)

Anderer is, well, Anderer:

What’s remarkable about this one – it was the MOTHER who introduced the concept of Parent Coordinator. What, has this woman lost her mind? Or was she “under the influence?” (of her own attorney) — I’d like to see the background on that one.

Well, actually here it is (Charissa J. Liller, below: Bachelor’s in Psychology, and before becoming an attorney, she worked — with Children and Family Services; being also young (impressionable?) and a Rising Star Attorney, she’s going to be mentored to promoting parenting coordination, “indubitably” when there are parents in conflict…… And being female, representing the mother, it’s hardly surprising this family law attorney may have persuaded “mom” that parenting coordination was a great idea:

Charissa, a shareholder of the firm, graduated cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Psychology. Prior to attending law school, she was a social worker with Children and Youth Services in Allegheny County. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. . . .Domestic Relations Association of Pennsylvania…

which is actually about child support workers. Significance: Title IV-D influence.


The De Novo Decision

Still talking about Parenting Coordination in Feb. 2013 (PA), and they call “Yates v. Yates” a seminal case.  However PCADV I think has removed the brief from its site:

2008 ABA Judges’ Guide on Child-Centered Custody Decisions.  Parenting Coordination is Part I, Section E:
This is a 299 page publication, “Child Custody and Adoption // Pro Bono”  

Noticing some of the personnel up front, Judge Debra Lehrman (Texas State Supreme Court AFCC judge, helped introduce Access/Visitation programming to Texas, I think….) gets credit.  



~~~The Natalie Famous in the Yates v. Yates case looks like also did CLE training:(from the foxrothschild site):
“Natalie is a lecturer for continuing legal education courses in the area of family law, including a course to discuss and establish custody co-parenting coordinators in Bucks County. She has served as a parent coordinator upon appointment by the Court of Common Pleas of Bucks County. Natalie has also lectured on the enforceability of pre and post nuptial agreements in Pennsylvania. An active member of the Bucks County Bar Association, she provides pro bono custody work.”

Another Harrisburg area law firm, or provider cites training at the (in)famous Termini/Boyan outfit, whose incorporation records are anyone’s best guess.


“The use of Parent Coordinators was approved by the Pennsylvania Superior Court in the case of Yates v. Yates, 2008 Pa. Super. 296 (2008). “…. (at the bottom we learned where she got trained to Parent Coordinate:

“Attorney Mehaffie is a trained Parent Coordinator. She received 20 hours of basic training offered by The Cooperative Parenting Institute*** and she has taken advanced Parent Coordination training offered by the Honorable Jeannine Turgeon of the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas. Additionally, Attorney Mehaffie is a trained mediator and she is trained in collaborative law, which is an alternative dispute resolution process where parties sign an agreement to privately resolve their disputes openly, honestly and without the court’s involvement.

Attorney Mehaffie only accepts Parent Coordination cases with a Court Order in place that is agreed to by all parties and participants.”

** Corporate Records not yet located — anyone want to go dig them up? Keeping in mind AFCC’s habit of setting up shop in the local county courthouse, without bothering to file, I’m thinking this is one of those situations. The trainings are where funds are raised.

In fact, if you sit through the Parent Coordinator training, you can hang out your billboard without significant experiences. Woman in Texas. Primary Qualifications: Passed Bar, is AFCC, has sat through some of their Trainings, Can Regurgitate the Definitions:


Sept. 2011 AFCC/AAML conference in Philadelphia.  See page 4 — and notice (after “parental alienation”), note Parent Coordination is not actually listed in the program agenda, or conference institutes. It’s a breakout workshop. Glossy, colorful PDF.

A National Army of Parent Coordinators:  How it Walks and Chews Gum (forum topic, Scranton)
Topic Started May, 2012


#? of ?

Don’t miss, within, 2011 Amicus Brief by an AFCC lawyer (Leslie Ellen Shear) citing multiple AFCC references in defining parenting coordination: “Parenting Coordination is a non-adversarial process…”

#4 of 4:  

#3 of 4:  It seems that the Florida Chapter of AFCC was formed, in good part, to get Parenting Coordination rules or laws passed.
https://familycourtmatters.wordpress.com/2011/06/18/afcc-coordinates-parenting-coord-and-the-courts-democrats-spearhead-next-fatherhood-legislation-hr-2193/  In 2004, Gov Jeb Bush protested, but they prevailed.  (Also mentions Oregon).

#1 of 4:   Top part shows how Pennsylvania got rules of court ordered to favor sales of AFCC-promoted Parent Education Classes (a Kids’ Turn copycat); here, it helps to have an AFCC judge somewhere, like on the state supreme court, or as a presiding justice on a Unified Family Court, etc.   However, in Indiana, it looks like the Domestic Relations Council simply tag-teamed with an AFCC conference in Indianapolis.  



People can spend their lives, and have, protesting how certain professions are practiced. I can understand this, however it seems much more reasonable and efficient to just turn off the funding faucets; shut down the systems which are able to create professional niche by court rules to start with! If they were imagineered (“spearheaded”) by a tax-evading, failure-to-incorporate nationwide interdisciplinary multi-jurisdictionaal association of lawyers, judges, psychologists, and social scientists with a knack for setting up business at public expense, in public institutions, and without honoring the corporate laws of the land; then either boycott their source of customers, or shut down operations until they learn better.

It’s pretty hard to shut down operations (which generally requires the cooperation of judges backed up by law enforcement at SOME point of the game) if the operations are run BY judges. But one thing we (non-judges, and non-racketeering-minded people) can do is at least show the pattern, expose it, and report it to another sector of society which is being harmed by this. Like taxpayers.

Simple solution? Locate the corporate filings [[or lack thereof!!]], the tax returns, the contracts, and registrations as a charity, and in general confront it. The hallmark of AFCC as an organization are its practices, and the primary practice seems to be setting up shop nationwide, and “incorporating occasionally.” In common terms, this is plain old tax evasion — when it’s a private association taking public money for private purposes (and profits). Look closer, look it up — you’ll see! Focus on the financials.

Written by Let's Get Honest|She Looks It Up

May 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm

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  1. […] Parenting Coordination — Invented, Promoted, only Slightly Demoted.. (May, 2013 recap) […]

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