Kenneth C. Kenney, Ph.D., MSW
1096 Mechem Drive, Ste #210, Ruidoso, New Mexico, 88345; 505-363-8293; 505-212-5004 (fax); kenkenney@courtconsults.com

SERVICE AGREEMENT:

TO USE A PARENT COOORDINATOR

FOR DISPUTE RESOLUTION, PARENTING PLAN, AND TIME SHARING ISSUES


This document (the Service Agreement) contains important information about my professional services and business policies. Although this document is long and sometimes complex, it is very important that you read it carefully before our first session. We can discuss any questions you have about the procedures at that time. When you sign this document, it will also represent an agreement between you (the parents or caretakers) and me. There are no optional sections, and you may not modify any part of this Agreement. You may revoke this Agreement in writing at any time. That revocation will be binding on me unless I have taken action in reliance on it; if there are obligations imposed on me by the Court; or if you have not satisfied any financial obligations you have incurred.


As soon as I receive the signed Service Agreement, the parents can schedule the first meeting or clinical interview. In the first part of the clinical interview, you and I will go over the Service Agreement, and review any questions you may have. I can answer questions about the Service Agreement from you or you attorney, but I do not modify any of its provisions. Please do not schedule or attend the first appointment if you cannot agree to the Service Agreement.

If at any point you decide that you cannot or will not comply with a section of the Service Agreement, I will stop the process. I contact the attorneys and await word from them about whether or not to continue. In rare circumstances, the Agreement can be modified. All parties must agree to any modifications in this process. If the parents cannot agree on a modification, I send a statement of impasse to the Court and await a decision from the judge about whether the evaluation should proceed.

It is important that you understand in advance that this is a consultation for legal purposes. The Court is my primary client. It is my private ethical belief that I am also responsible to the child or children in this matter. There is a possibility that my impressions, conclusions, and recommendations may not be what you desire, and they may be unfavorable to your legal position. It is a very difficult and, at times, a painful task to make recommendations or draw conclusions concerning parent-child relationships. Please understand that I am making decisions in place of the Court. The Court has assigned me to make these decisions. I am seeing you either because you are sent by Court order, or because all parties have executed a stipulated agreement to appoint me as the parent coordinator.

This Service Agreement to use a parent coordinator for Dispute Resolution and Time Sharing Issues is entered into by and between the parents, the Petitioner, and the Respondent, for the purposes of accomplishing a Final and Dispositive resolution of the time sharing and parenting issues presently before the Court and between the parents.


IT IS AGREED AS FOLLOWS:

1. The parties hereto are the natural parent’s to the minor child, , age __.

2. The parents shall henceforth use a "parent coordinator" for the benefit of their child.

3. As used herein, the term "parent coordinator" shall mean a neutral party who understands and has professional knowledge and training about children. This person will talk to the child and talk to both parents about the child, dispute resolution, and time sharing. The Court has appointed and the parents agree to use Kenneth C. Kenney, Ph.D., MSW who has indicated his agreement in the role of parent coordinator by his signature. The parents’ agreement to use Dr. Kenney reflects their choice to use a parent coordinator. The parents’ agreement to use Dr. Kenney should be construed to mean that should Dr. Kenney stop being the parent coordinator in this matter, either by his choice or by the parents’ joint and agreed upon choice, the parents shall continue to use a parent coordinator.

4. The parent coordinator shall make decisions regarding any confidential information provided by either parent or the child. The child or either parent may reveal information to the parent coordinator, and the parent coordinator may choose whether or not to reveal such information to either parent or to the child. The parents understand that the parent coordinator may be bound by certain laws of the State of New Mexico and certain professional ethical standards of practice wherein such confidentiality of information may be outside of the power of the parent coordinator to choose regarding confidential or private information.

5. The parents understand that they have been ordered to give some of their parental decision making power concerning their child over to the parent coordinator. The parents understand that they been so ordered because of their inability to resolve common parenting, time sharing, and dispute resolution matters by themselves. This has resulted in the need for someone else to exercise such decision making power. Alternatively and ultimately, the Court retains all such decision making power. The Court has decided to appoint a parent coordinator since the parents have been unable by themselves to resolve their conflicts with each other about their child.

6. The parents have been ordered and agree to turning their decision making power over to the parent coordinator because the parent coordinator will become intimately familiar with their child, their parenting styles, and their post-divorce family generally. The parents have reached this decision because they both believe it is in the best interest of their child to have a parent coordinator assist in their time sharing plans and general dispute resolution when problems arise that they cannot otherwise settle themselves.


7. If the parents cannot arrive at a mutual agreement on a disputed factor regarding their child, , the parent coordinator shall reach a decision for them. The parents know and understand that each of them, or both of them, may not agree with decisions made by the parent coordinator. However, they believe it is better to have the person who knows them and their child make decisions about their child. For this reason, the parents shall follow and not contest decisions made by the parent coordinator. If the parents discharge the parent coordinator, they shall follow the most recent decisions of the parent coordinator until a new parent coordinator is appointed.


8. The parents and their attorneys shall abide by any decisions the parent coordinator may reach. The parent coordinator does not have to explain the basis for any decision he may render. After the parent coordinator has reached a decision, the parent coordinator shall put in writing any changes that substantially alter the existing Parenting Plan. At times, the parent coordinator may also issue written decisions. The parents agree to be bound by such written decision as if fully ordered to do so by the Court until or unless the Court sets aside said decision. Even if the parents decide to discharge the parent coordinator who made the decision, the parents agree to be bound by all parent coordinator decisions until the Court sets said decisions aside.


9. The parents shall both sign the parent coordinator's written decision(s) or any written agreement the parents may reach which modifies, establishes or changes the Parenting Plan. Please note that the parent coordinator’s decisions never address property settlement or child support.

10. The parent coordinator shall also help the parents structure their time sharing exchanges of the child, and help the parents talk about and reach mutual decisions regarding various beliefs, hopes and desires they each may have regarding the child and their parenting styles.

11. The parents shall abide by any decision(s) the parent coordinator may make regarding evaluations for them or for the child, including recommendations that the parents seek counseling or treatment for themselves or for the child outside of the parent coordinator process.

12. The parent coordinator will attempt to help the parents learn how to solve their problems on their own so that, over time, their interaction with the parent coordinator can decrease.

13. The role of the parent coordinator may change from time to time. If that role changes, the parents agree to put in writing their agreement regarding the changing role of the parent coordinator. Any such agreement shall be dated and signed by both parents prior to it becoming effective. However, at no time may the parents use the parent coordinator for individual or family counseling, mediation, or custody evaluation. They also here state that neither the parents nor their child has had any previous professional, personal, or social relationship with the parent coordinator who has been appointed. The parents understand that they may not propose or agree to the appointment of any parent coordinator where such relationships have existed.

14. In choosing to use a parent coordinator for issues related to , the parents shall not depose or call the parent coordinator as a witness should the parents ever go to Court over disagreements they may have regarding timesharing or any other issue the parent coordinator may have reached regarding the child. However, any written changes to the parenting agreements or Parenting Plan may and should be introduced as evidence in any future Court proceeding.

15. Parent coordinator fees and costs shall be paid proportionally by each parent in accordance with the directions of the parent coordinator and by agreement with the attorneys, or by order of the Court. The parents agree to pay all parent coordinator fees and costs in advance, depositing with the parent coordinator funds sufficient to cover 8 hours of sessions at a time ($1000.00). The parents understand that the parent coordinator shall make no appointments with them and shall not release any written material or reports until all fees and costs are paid to date.

16. If the parent coordinator requires legal or other documents for review, the parent coordinator will attempt to obtain such documents from the parties first. If the parties do not or cannot provide the parent coordinator with such documents in a timely fashion, the parent coordinator may obtain such documents by contacting either parent 's lawyer. If the parent coordinator is simply obtaining documents, the parent coordinator shall not be required to contact both parents’ attorneys. Under circumstances where both parties' attorneys become involved in drafting legal documents in conjunction with a request from the parent coordinator, each party shall pay their own lawyer fees and costs. In circumstances where only one lawyer is involved in drafting legal documents, both parties shall each pay one half of the costs and fees incurred by use of the lawyer for drafting such documents, unless otherwise determined by the Court.

17. Either party may have contact or have individual meetings with the parent coordinator without notifying the other party. The parent coordinator may decide whether or not to accept calls or have meetings with either party. The parties agree that the parent coordinator shall initiate all contacts in most circumstances. The parent coordinator has no obligation to accept phone calls or respond to either of the parties if the parent coordinator decides that such contact is tangential to the parent coordinator process. The parties agree that absent extraordinary circumstances, the party dealing with the parent coordinator on an individual basis shall be responsible for any fees and costs incurred with the parent coordinator . However, any costs or fees incurred under such circumstances as described in this paragraph shall be charged in accordance with the decision of the parent coordinator. The parent coordinator shall make all decisions about the fees and costs for his coordination services.

18. The parties understand that the parent coordinator is not conducting a custody evaluation. Any reports produced by the parent coordinator are not to be represented or characterized by the parties or their attorneys as a custody evaluation designed to conform to the standards established by the American Psychological Association. The job of the parent coordinator is to focus on the child’s needs and the agreements in the Parenting Plan. The reports of the parent coordinator may not be used as a basis for a change in custody assignment of any minor children.

19. The parties shall always have direct access to the parent coordinator through their attorneys. If either party's attorney contacts the parent coordinator about a substantial problem, the parent coordinator may request that the attorney in writing memorialize the contact. Lawyers for either party should contact the parent coordinator by telephone only in extraordinary circumstances. The parent coordinator decides whether or not to inform or copy the other attorney in regard to any contacts with one of the party's attorneys.

20. Dr. Kenney, in his role as the parent coordinator, prefers not to discuss questions about the process over the phone with an attorney whose client is sitting in the attorney’s office, listening to the phone call, with or without the parent coordinator’s knowledge.

21. The attorneys for the parties shall assume that Dr. Kenney is aware of the nuances and special circumstances that underlie the difficult decisions that the parent coordinator must make. By their signatures to this Agreement, they agree to moderate both the tone and the frequency of the calls they make to the parent coordinator. The Court may be asked to review problematic conversations between the attorneys and the parent coordinator.

22. If the parent coordinator or any member of the parent coordinator’s family is harassed, threatened, stalked, or assaulted, or if any of the parent coordinator’s property is damaged, the parent coordinator may disclose his client list and other relevant information to authorities who are conducting an investigation.

23. The parent coordinator shall have the discretion to appoint such other experts as may be required to investigate and determine particular issues. The parent coordinator shall consult with the parties prior to appointing any other expert. The costs and fees of such experts appointed shall be paid in accordance with direction by the parent coordinator.

24. The parent coordinator shall be able to request individual meetings with each of the parents and with the child individually. The parents agree to inform that she may request an individual meeting with the parent coordinator at any time. Both parties shall pay the costs and fees of such meetings equally, unless otherwise directed by the Court.

25. At any point in this process, the parent coordinator may ask you to comply immediately with a forensic drug and alcohol test. Failure to comply with this request will be reported to your attorney and to the Court, and the process will stop until your attorney decides on the next step.

26. The parents agree to enter into this parent coordination Agreement fully informed of the process, having had a full opportunity to question Dr. Kenney about any part of this Agreement. The parents agree to waive confidentiality, and release Dr. Kenney from any and all liability for damages that might result from the release of any information he passes on to the parties in this matter. The parents do so fully recognizing that Dr. Kenney’s statements, reports, testimony, and other actions might be adverse and detrimental to the parents personally, financially, and to their legal position. Although the parents understand that they may be dissatisfied with the results of this parent coordinator process, they agree not to pursue any complaint, claim, or legal action against Dr. Kenney after this process is completed. If the parents have any such grievance, they agree to seek mediation of the issue with a third party to whom all agree to submit the issue.

27. In all matters relating to this parent coordination process, Dr. Kenney shall consider each child's interests ahead of any adult's interests. Anything Dr. Kenney discusses with the child or children in this matter shall remain confidential at his discretion, unless the Court determines otherwise.

28. If the parent coordinator sees issues not raised by the parties that he decides need to be addressed by the parties in the best interests of the minor child, the parent coordinator may bring up such issues with the parties for resolution.

29. The parent coordinator is directed to assist the parents in learning communication skills with each other and each with the child.


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Petitioner
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Respondent
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Petitioner's Attorney
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Respondent's Attorney
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Kenneth C. Kenney, Ph.D., MSW
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