Parenting Coordination


On August 9, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court amended the Rule 1915.11-1 and adopting Rules 1915.22 and 1915.23 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure reauthorizing court-appointed Parenting Coordination. The rule will go into effect on March 1, 2019.

Parenting Coordination is a process for resolving issues arising out of a custody order issued by the Court. The Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a trained facilitator appointed by the Court to foster communication and agreement conducive to the best interests of the children. Typical issues include: transitions between households; variations from the parenting plan for special events; school issues; child-care arrangements; extra-curricular activities; and other matters related to implementing the parenting plan.

The rule provides that to qualify for court appointments, Parenting Coordinators must be "licensed to practice in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania either as an attorney or a mental health professional with a masters degree or higher" and have completed specialized training that includes five hours of parenting coordination process; ten hours of family mediation; and five hours of training in domestic violence" and submit an affidavit to the court every two years attesting that the PC continues to meet the qualifications. 



This workshop is designed to prepare attorneys and mental health professionals with a master’s degree or higher to become Parenting Coordinators in accordance with Rule 1915.11-1 and adopting Rules 1915.22 and 1915.23 of the Pennsylvania Rules of Civil Procedure.

This workshop will include mini-lectures; large, small and individual exercises; video demonstrations; and role-playing. The topics identified in this syllabus may not be offered consecutively, but rather integrated throughout the workshop. A training manual and certificates of completion will be provided.

Training objectives

Participants who complete the full 24-hour workshop will be able to master the following skills in the following categories:

Parenting Coordination (5 hours)

  • Overview of the history and background of parenting coordination
  • Definition of parenting coordination
  • History of parenting coordination
  • Review of the new parenting coordination rule in PA
  • Appointment of a parenting coordinator
  • The adult perspective
    • Divorce Impasses
    • Characteristic of high-conflict parents
  • The child’s perspective
    • Protective Buffers
    • Risk factors
    • Impact of high-conflict on children
  • Types of Sessions
    • First joint session
    • On-going sessions
    • Sessions with children
    • Reaching closure
  • Cooperative co-parenting versus parallel co-parenting
  • Resistance and refusal of visitation
    • Parental alienation
    • Visitation resistance
    • Estrangement
  • Dealing with Challenging personalities
    • Narcissistic personality disorder
    • Histrionic personality disorder
    • Borderline personality disorder
    • Depression
  • Recognize parenting coordination dilemmas

Domestic Violence (5 hours)

  • Screen for domestic violence and recognize abusive behavior
  • Child abuse reporting
  • Understand what constitutes domestic violence as defined in Pennsylvania Law, compare and contrast with other forms of interpersonal family violence
  • Recognize the pattern, intent and impact of domestic violence using the Power and Control Wheel (Duluth Model).
  • Recognize post-separation power and control and the various forms of abuse
  • Differentiate between high conflict and interpersonal family violence
  • Understand the dynamics of family violence and the impact of witnessing domestic violence on children
  • Offer trauma-informed parenting coordination.

Family Mediation (10 hours)

  • Understand the Facilitative Mediation Process.
    • Convening.
    • Information gathering.
    • Clarifying issues and setting the agenda.
    • Interest-based negotiating with the best interests of the child(ren) in mind.
    • Drafting Recommendations.
    • Reaching closure.
  • Be able to apply mediator skills and techniques in the role of a parenting coordinator:
  • Communication skills: active listening; paraphrasing; reframing; framing questions; transforming complaints into requests.
  • Caucusing.
  • Containing and managing high emotions.
  • Working with challenging parents
    • Dealing with anger
    • Dealing with noncompliance.
  • Working with attorneys
  • Discuss the legal and ethical considerations involved in parenting coordination.

Training Team Biographies

Cheryl Cutrona, Esq.

Cheryl Cutrona is a nationally recognized mediator, conflict coach and trainer. She has been the Executive Director of the CORA Good Shepherd Mediation (CORA GSM) in Philadelphia since 1991. Cutrona teaches the Domestic Relations Mediation Clinic at Temple University Beasley School of Law and Conflict Management in the Workplace for Temple University Klein School of Communication and Social Media. She holds Advanced Practitioner status and has been certified as a Family Trainer by the Association for Conflict Resolution Academy of Family Mediators. Cutrona sits on the Philadelphia Bar Association Lawyer Fee Disputes Committee (currently co-chair), the Pennsylvania Bar Association ADR Committee (currently co-chair), the Philadelphia Bar Association Family Law Section ADR Committee (currently co-chair), and the Editorial Board of Conflict Resolution Quarterly. She also sits on the Board of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution and was on the Board of the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators for more than 20 years. She is the 2008 recipient of the Pennsylvania Bar Association Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee “Sir Francis Bacon Dispute Resolution Award” and was named “Most Valuable Peacemaker” by the Pennsylvania Council of Mediators in 2010. Cutrona holds a BA from Michigan State University, a Masters in Library Science from Wayne State University, Detroit Michigan, and her J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law.

Ann Marie Termini, Ed.S., M.S., LPC

Ann Marie Termini, Ed.S., M.S. is co-founder and director of the Cooperative Parenting Institute in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. She has worked with children and families since 1979. Ann Marie has co-authored several books to assist families in transition, including Cooperative Parenting and Divorce: 8-Week group program for separating parents, Cooperative Parenting and Divorce: A Parent Guide to Effective Co-Parenting, The Psychotherapist as Parent Coordinator in High Conflict Divorce: Strategies and Techniques and Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce). Widely known for her expertise in the area of divorce and the family, she provides training to educators, family law and mental health professionals. She has trained parenting coordinators since 1997, and as a result, co-authored the first comprehensive model of parenting coordination. Respected in their field, Ann Marie has conducted numerous seminars on the international, national, state and local levels on topics such as parental alienation and visitation refusal, interviewing children, therapeutic and supervised visitation and developmentally appropriate time-sharing plans. She has been awarded clinical membership in the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and is a member of multiple organizations including the Academy of Professional Family Mediators, American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and Association of Family and Conciliation Courts. Mrs. Termini was a consultant for a family court in Pennsylvania and maintains a private practice. She resides in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania with her husband and two lovely daughters.

Susan Pearlstein, Esq.

Ms. Pearlstein is a supervising attorney of the Family Law Unit at Philadelphia Legal Assistance (“PLA”), the federally funded civil legal aid program in Philadelphia. She received her B.S. from the Pennsylvania State University in 1990 and J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania School of Law in 1998. Upon graduation, Ms. Pearlstein received a Skadden Foundation Fellowship to represent young mothers escaping family violence in protection from abuse, child custody, child support and divorce matters at PLA and has continued to represent survivors of family violence following the Fellowship. She has specialized in the representation of immigrant victims of sexual assault and family violence, and is dedicated to providing trauma-informed services to clients and enabling the legal services community to be better informed of how trauma impacts both our clients and ourselves. Ms. Pearlstein is an active member of the Philadelphia Bar Association, currently serving on the Family Law Section’s Executive Committee and as co-Chair of the Section’s Programming Committee and Public Interest Committee. She was a member of the Board of Directors of Women In Transition from 2006 through 2013 and served as Secretary for several years. Ms. Pearlstein has conducted many Continuing Legal Education programs and has presented on family law issues at local, regional and national conferences.