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THE COURTS

Title 255—LOCAL COURT RULES

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Adoption of Local Civil Rule 1915.11.1—Parenting Coordination; No. 2019-1

[49 Pa.B. 5211]
[Saturday, September 7, 2019]

Order

And Now, this 14th day of August, 2019, it is hereby Ordered, Adjudged, and Decreed that the following Washington County Local Rule of Civil Procedure is hereby adopted, effective thirty (30) days after publication of this Order in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 This Order shall be processed in accordance with Pa.R.J.A. 103(d). The District Court Administrator is directed to do the following:

 1. Publish the local rules on the Court's website to be incorporated into the set of local rules on the website within thirty (30) days after the publication of the local rules in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

 2. File one (1) copy of the local rules in the appropriate filing office(s) for public inspection and copying.

 3. Cause a copy hereof to be published in the Washington County Bar Journal once a week for two successive weeks at the expense of the County of Washington.

By the Court

KATHERINE B. EMERY, 
President Judge

Rule 1915.11.1. Parenting Coordination.

 (a) Appointment of a Parenting Coordinator.

 (1) If the parties agree on a Parenting Coordinator or if the Court deems one necessary, an order will be entered in accordance with Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.22.

 (2) If the parties cannot agree on the selection of a Parenting Coordinator, the Court shall require each party to identify his/her choice(s) along with the hourly rate of each to all parties. If the parties cannot agree, the Court will select a Parenting Coordinator. The roster of the Court's approved Parenting Coordinators and their stated hourly rates shall be posted in the office of the Court Administrator-Civil Division and on the website of the Twenty-Seventh Judicial District at www.washingtoncourts.us.

 (3) Any party seeking a reduced fee under section (d) below must seek leave to proceed in forma pauperis in accordance with local Rule 240.

 (b) Roster of Approved Parenting Coordinators.

 An attorney or mental health professional seeking to be included on the roster of the Washington County Court's roster of qualified individuals to serve as a Parenting Coordinator shall submit a letter to the Court Administrator-Civil Division together with the following:

 (1) An affidavit attesting the applicant has the qualifications found in Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.11;

 (2) Pennsylvania Act 33 child abuse and Act 34 criminal history clearances, within the past two (2) years;

 (3) An acknowledgement that the applicant has read and will follow the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) Parenting Coordinator guidelines and the American Psychological Association (APA) Parenting Coordinator Guidelines. The former are posted at https://www.afccnet.org/Portals/0/AFCCGuidelinesforParentingcoordinationnew.pdf. The latter are found at https://www.apa.org/pubs/journals/features/parenting-coordination.pdf; and

 (4) An acknowledgment of responsibility to accept reduced fee assignments for every three (3) full fee appointments taken. Appointments for reduced fee assignments will be made on a rotating basis for all Parenting Coordinators on the Court's roster.

 (c) Parenting Coordinator Recommendations.

 (1) In addition to providing the same to the parties and the assigned Judge, a Parenting Coordinator shall file his or her Summary and Recommendations with the Prothonotary within two (2) days after the last communication with the parties on the issues in accordance with Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.11-1(f)(2). A Proof of Service shall also be filed. Copies of both documents shall also be provided to the Court Administrator-Civil Division.

 (2) Objections to Parenting Coordinator's Recommendation(s) and Petition for a Record Hearing.

 a. A party objecting to the Recommendations must file with the Prothonotary an original and a copy of his or her Objections and a Petition for a Record Hearing before the Court within five (5) days of service of the Summary and Recommendations together with a Proof of Service upon all parties and the Parenting Coordinator. Copies shall also be provided to the assigned Judge and the Court Administrator-Civil Division.

 b. The assigned Judge shall schedule a record hearing as soon as practical on the objections.

 c. If timely objections are filed, the Parenting Coordinator's Recommendation may be entered as an interim order by the assigned Judge pending final disposition.

 (3) Court Review of Parenting Coordinator's Recommendations.

 If no objections to the Parenting Coordinator's Recommendation are filed with the Prothonotary within five (5) days of service of the Summary and Recommendation, the assigned Judge will review the Recommendation in accordance with Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.11-1(f)(4).

 (d) Fees.

 Parties who request the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator or who are identified by the Court as benefitting from the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator shall pay the Parenting Coordinator as follows:

 (1) Up to $150.00 an hour;

 (2) The assigned Judge shall initially allocate the fees between the parties, but they may be reallocated as deemed appropriate by the Parenting Coordinator or the Court at a later date. See Pa.R.Civ.P. 1915.22(8).

 (3) If, after a review of the In Forma Pauperis (IFP) petition, the parties' combined gross income and family size is at or below the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the Parenting Coordinator's fee shall be pro bono. If, after a review of the In Forma Pauperis (IFP) petition, the parties' combined gross income and family size is between the Federal Poverty Guidelines and 150% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines, the Parenting Coordinator's fee shall be 50% of his or her hourly rate. All other litigants shall pay the full fee.

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 19-1361. Filed for public inspection September 6, 2019, 9:00 a.m.]



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