Evaluating Parenting Coordination Programs: Encouraging Results From Pilot Testing a Research Methodology

Karey O.Hara Brewster, Connie J.A. Beck, Edward R. Anderson, G. Andrew H. Benjamin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


A subset of families who separate and divorce become embroiled in conflict and demand a disproportionate amount of court resources both during and after their legal divorce process. The court system has responded by establishing parenting coordination (PC) programs to assist parents in resolving conflict without utilizing court resources to do so. In spite of widespread implementation, empirical research into the effects of PC programs is "practically nonexistent" (Henry, Fieldstone, & Bohac, 2009). The present study is a pilot study of a PC program in one jurisdiction to investigate the use of a methodology not previously used within the parenting coordination literature to test the effectiveness of PC programs. Variables relating to the amount of judicial, court personnel, outside agency, and parental time that was spent on each case were coded from legal divorce files. Results indicate that the PC program reduced the number of: motions filed by parents, documents processed by court personnel, judicial hearings, and changes in agreements ordered by judges for this small sample. The methodology pilot tested was successful and provided a comprehensive analysis. While a small pilot, the overall conclusion reached is this PC program is promising for in easing the burden on court personnel, reducing the number of agencies involved with the family and in assisting parents in making longer-lasting parenting decisions. Important next steps are to cross validate these findings using a larger sample and a control group with similar characteristics who were not assigned parenting coordinators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-267
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Child Custody
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2011


  • agency involvement
  • court personnel time
  • divorce
  • empirical evaluation
  • high conflict
  • parent coordination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies
  • Law


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