After a five-year hiatus due to a ruling that effectively undercut the viability of custody coordination, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has reintroduced custody coordination by Rule effective March 1, 2019. In the intervening five years, the Supreme Court (who promulgates the rules) in conjunction with the Domestic Relations Procedural Rules Committee (of which Judge Daniel Clifford from Montgomery County is a member) have painstakingly reconstituted the custody coordination rules to rectify the fatal due process flaws found in the system by the Superior Court in A.H. v. C.M., (Pa. Super. 2012).

Since the announcement in August, counties across the Commonwealth should have their local rules underway and beginning to certify – or at least identify their certification processes – attorneys and, under the new rule, mental health professionals, as custody coordinators.

Last September, I laid out the new rules in detail for The Legal Intelligencer and identified how this new system stands to benefit families in Pennsylvania by rerouting some issues out of the court system and into the coordination system. When coordination was abolished, it is fair to generalize that it was not because attorneys or parties did not see value in it. Under the new rule, the utility of custody coordination returns, but with a procedural support system that should allow it to be sustainable as an alternative dispute resolution tool.

You can also find my analysis here.