73 Valley Drive, Furlong, PA 18925
(800) 633-PACE (7223)    FAX (215) 794-3386    pacestaff@gmail.com

Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator

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Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator

During the Grandfathering Period, "Application Processing Fees" have been reduced by 50% and the PACE “Fast-Track” Application is in use.

Since 1991 PACE has been recognized as a national professional organization that certifies qualified mental health professionals and Licensed Attorneys to practice the specialty of Parenting Coordinator. These individuals hold the following credential:

Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator

Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator™ (NCPC)

PACE, as a recognized professional organization, certifies qualified mental health professionals and licensed attorneys to practice the specialty of Parenting Coordinator.
They will hold the credential of:

Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator

PACE, as a recognized professional organization, certifies qualified mental health professionals and licensed attorneys to practice the specialty of Parenting Coordinator at the independent practice level. They will hold the credential of Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator™(NCPC)

What is a Parenting Coordinator?

The use of Parenting Coordinators is a relatively new intervention to manage high-conflict custody cases. Parents retain and compensate a Parenting Coordinator (PC) (normally at the behest of the Court) to arbitrate ongoing child-related disputes. The PC operates under a Court Order that spells out their coordination duties and powers. Family courts throughout the country have found that this system has helped to handle cases that had formerly overburdened the family court judicial system.

What does the Parenting Coordinator do?

The Parenting Coordinator works directly with the parents to help them communicate more effectively and avoid conflicts about child-related issues. Parents who are constantly in court about child-related issues (such as a holiday visitation schedule or the sharing of information about a child’s academic or medical developments) might benefit from opinions and guidance to help make communication more effective. In addition, the parenting coordinator mediates issues, and when the parents are unable to agree, the parenting coordinator is often given the power to arbitrate what the result should be.

Ultimately, the court has the final say over child custody and visitation issues, but a Parenting Coordinator can drastically reduce the need to go to court and therefore reduce conflict for the children in families involved in such disputes.

Members will have two documents to verify their certification. One is a license-sized certificate (8” X 5”) with special built-in security characteristics and the other is a full-sized certificate for your office. They both contain all of the relevant information and attest to the fact that the named recipient "has satisfied the requirements for education, training, and experience, contained in PACE’S Criteria for Practice at the Independent Practice Level and is therefore recognized as a Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator."

Additionally, court personnel and prospective clients will be invited to visit a new website, being developed as both a registry and also to enhance the credibility and stature of the Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator™(NCPC).

Academy Register of Family Court Services
Click on the name above to visit.


Criteria for Attorney Certification

Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator

1. Law degree from a university/college that is regionally accredited;

2. Licensed as an attorney in the state where they will act as a Parenting Coordinator;

3. Five years post-degree legal experience;

4. At least two years experience working with a family court;

5. A minimum of two years experience working with at least five sets of high conflict or litigating parents, providing services that have been described by various designation and job descriptions including, but not limited to: family court lawyer, child custody lawyer, parenting coordinator, family coordinator, mediator, family court mediator, certified mediator, mentor mediator, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) consultant, collaborative custody and divorce lawyer, Guardian ad Litem (GAL)in custody and visitation matters, etc.

6. PACE is seeking attorneys who as undergraduates, during law school, or after law school, have received training in mental health subjects, mediation, problem solving techniques, alternative dispute resolution, negotiation techniques, Guardian ad Litem training, etc*. that can help foster their work with high conflict parents and the children of high conflict parents. Applicants should have participated in a minimum of 24 hours of training in these subjects, of which 12 should be classified as mental health subjects.

* The Committee on Certification has the authority to be flexible in accepting alternative subjects to the ones listed above.

7. The names and contact information for two colleagues who can verify the information included in this Application.

The PACE Executive Operating Committee has been authorized to use a degree of flexibility in the handling of certain special situations that may arise during the application process without compromising the integrity of PACE’S Current Criteria.


Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator™ (NCPC)

One-time application processing fee:$338  $169 during Grandfathering Period-YOU SAVE $169

Annual Certification Fee: $129

Total with this Application: $298 (One-time application processing fee of $169 and first Annual Certification Fee of $129.)

This covers ALL fees until your next Annual Certification Fee of $129 is due twelve months after your Approval Date.

NOTE: If an applicant is NOT accepted for certification ALL fees will be promptly returned.


Section 1: Specific Questions About Parenting Coordination
Section 2: Frequently Asked Credentialing Questions

Parenting Coordinator Frequently Asked Questions

1. What is a Parenting Coordinator (PC)?

A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is a trained mental health or legal professional with experience working with high conflict separated parents. The coordinator assists parents to implement their parenting plan and make the necessary changes needed to establish a collaborative parenting partnership. The Parenting Coordinator facilitates resolution of disputes, educates parents about children’s needs, monitors parental behavior and, with prior approval of the parties and/or the court, makes temporary decisions within the scope of the court order or appointment contract.

2. What is the purpose of Parenting Coordination?

The overall emphasis is to offer children the opportunity to grow in a home environment free from the devastating stress of being caught in the middle of parental conflict. Parenting Coordination combines assessment, education, case management, conflict management and sometimes decision-making functions to help high-conflict parents who have demonstrated an inability or unwillingness to make parenting decisions on their own or comply with parenting agreements and court orders. The family’s progress is monitored to ensure that parents are fulfilling their obligations to their child while complying with the recommendations of the court. The process is intended to assist parents establish and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship by reducing parental conflict and the risk factors that influence a child’s post-divorce adjustment.

3. How is a Parenting Coordinator (PC) assigned to a case?

The Parenting Coordinator is usually appointed by the Court with the consent of the parents. Parents may also volunteer to utilize the services of a PC.

4. Can a Parenting Coordinator make recommendations and temporary decisions for the parents?

Parenting Coordinators can make recommendations and decisions for parents within the scope of the appointment order. The Parenting Coordinator’s authority is delineated in the court order or by the consent of the parents.

5. What kinds of issues does a Parenting Coordinator address?

If specified in the court order, a Parenting Coordinator may have authority to resolve the following types of issues:

Minor changes or clarification of parenting time schedules including vacation, holidays, and temporary variations from the existing parenting plan.

Transitions or exchanges of the children including date, time, place, means of transportation and/or transporter.

Health care management including medical, dental, orthodontic and vision care child-rearing issues.

Psychotherapy or other mental health care including substance abuse assessment or counseling for the children. (To be done by a third-party)

Psychological testing or other assessment. (To be done by a third-party)

School choice issues

Extracurricular activity disputes

Religious observances and education

Communication between the parents about the children

Clothing, equipment and personal possessions of the children

Haircuts, tattoos, ear and body piercing issues

Role of and contact with significant others and extended families

Parenting classes for either or both parents

Any other issues as agreed by the parents and included in the court order or stipulation appointing the parenting coordinator

6. Can Parenting Coordinators make decisions that would change legal custody and physical custody from one parent to the other or in other ways, substantially change the parenting plan?

No, this is beyond the scope of the Parenting Coordinator’s role.

7. Can a Parenting Coordinator serve in more than one role?

No, a Parenting Coordinator should not be appointed, or accept a Parenting Coordinator appointment, if they have been involved in a case as a guardian ad litem, custody evaluator, therapist, or one parent’s attorney.

8. Does the Parenting Coordinator perform the same function as a Guardian ad Litem (GAL)?

No, a GAL is a party to the case, serves as the child’s legal representative, and may make recommendations to the court that are in the child’s best interests. The PC is not a party to the case, does not represent either parent or any of the children. The PC attempts to facilitate resolution of issues for the entire family, and if necessary, makes decisions as authorized by court order. The GAL appointment ends when the case is disposed of in Court. The Parenting Coordinator’s role is on-going, within the scope of the particular court order or stipulation.

9. Do Parenting Coordinators offer legal advice?

No, offering legal advice is outside the scope of the Parenting Coordinator’s role.

10. How are Parenting Coordinators paid?

The court order or stipulation usually indicates the allocation of fees paid to the PC. More often than not, fees associated with the parenting coordination process are divided between the parties, taking into consideration the relative incomes of the parties, and giving the Parenting Coordinator authority to reassess allocation of fees depending on the circumstances. The Parenting Coordinator usually explains and discusses with the parents fees, costs and method of payment, in writing and prior to beginning the parenting coordinator process.

11. What happens if the parents disagree with a recommendation or temporary decision made by a Parenting Coordinator?

The method parents may use to voice their objections to a parenting coordinator’s recommendations are generally outlined in the court order or agreement. In some jurisdictions, a party may file an objection to any recommendation or decision made by a Parenting Coordinator within fifteen days after the recommendation of the PC. Responses may be filed within fifteen days after an objection is served. The Court follows its customary procedures, which may include a review of the objections and responses, and schedules the matter for a hearing de novo or enter other appropriate orders. However, the protocol used by jurisdictions vary.

Frequently Asked Credentialing Questions

(1) Does the National Certification mean that I can practice in any state in the country?

No. It means that you have met criteria formulated by experts that represent the national standard for extra qualifications in the field designated. It’s always a good idea to find out if you can practice in a specific state by contacting the licensing bureau in that state. Many times you’ll find that no specific practice regulations are in force and that a simple courtesy letter from you is all that is needed.

(2) What is the PACE Credentialing Center?

The PACE Credentialing Center is a department within PACE responsible for the management of PACE credentials and specialty certifications. This department is responsible for the Academy Register of Family Court Services, Continuing Education Approval Program, and the Verifications Program

(3) How many credentials and specialty certifications does PACE offer?

PACE offers two credentials: Nationally Certified Custody Evaluator (NCCE) and Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinator (NCPC).

(4) How long has PACE had credentials and specialty certifications?

PACE has been offering credentials to mental health professionals for almost 20 years (since1991) starting with the Registered Custody Evaluator. NCCE and NCPC have been offered since March 1, 2010. The credentialing of Licensed Attorneys as Nationally Certified Parenting Coordinators began on June 1, 2010.

(5) Are the PACE credentials and specialty certifications the same as a state license?

PACE specialty certifications provide recognition to those who have met national standards for higher levels of education, experience and knowledge, and are not a substitute for state licenses that may be required by a state in which you plan to offer your services.

A state license is issued to regulate the practice of mental health services and protect the public. A state license is issued by and useful only in the jurisdiction where the holder plans to practice. A PACE credential/specialty certification signifies that the holder has met the higher standards developed nationally in addition to having experience and working with certain populations. A specific state may have additional or different licensing requirements. To find out about a state’s licensing requirements contact the licensing board in that state.

(6) What is the purpose of a specialty certification?

PACE specialty certifications and other professional credentials provide recognition to those who have met national standards for higher levels of experience and knowledge.

The purpose for a specialty certification is to:

Assure the public a minimum level of competency for quality service by certified professionals.

Professional recognition through a process which examines demonstrated work competencies.

Assure an opportunity for ongoing professional development.

Promote professional and ethical practice by enforcing adherence to a Code.

(7) How do I get my name in the Academy Register of Family Court Services (www.AcademyRegister.com)?

Once you are approved for the NCPC or NCCE credential you will automatically be added to the Academy Register.

(8) What are the benefits of having a PACE credential or specialty certification?

Holders of PACE credentials and specialty certifications are recognized as meeting established national standards for their specialty and adhere to the PACE Code of Ethics. Holders have specialized knowledge, proven work experience, demonstrated competence, and adhere to ethical practice.

(9) I’m an attorney, how do I apply for a PACE credential or specialty certification?

You can download the application for attorneys HERE: Attorney NCPC Application

(10) How long does it take to obtain a PACE credential or specialty certification?

Application processing is usually completed within 10 days from the date that we receive the application.

(11) Is there a renewal process?

Yes. Renewal for Certification is every year. Renewal packets are sent prior to the expiration of the credential/certification.

(12) What are the criteria for the credentials and specialty certifications?

Click here to see the Current Criteria for Acceptance.

(13) Are continuing education (CE) credits required for PACE credentials and specialty certification renewals?

Six hours of continuing education are required for the renewal of each PACE specialty certification.

(14) Can I use the continuing education hours I submit for my state license to renew my PACE specialty certification?

Yes, as long as the content of the program is linked to the primary areas of the certification.

(15) What CE’s are acceptable for credentials and specialty certifications?

CE’s submitted for the renewal of specialty certifications must meet the core knowledge and skill areas for the respective certifications. In other words, continuing education programs must be related to the population and subject matter of the respective certifications. We are always happy to approve CE credits in advance. Contact pacestaff@gmail.com

(16) Approval Guidelines:

  • Courses provided by colleges and universities.
  • NASW National or Chapter provided or approved trainings, workshops, and conferences.
  • Courses provided by national mental health associations and organizations certified to grant continuing education.
  • American Bar Association (national or state chapters) trainings, workshops, and conferences.
  • Courses provided by national mental health associations and organizations certified to grant continuing education.
  • Workplace in-service trainings or workshops.
  • Home study programs that are approved by state licensing boards or educational entities.
  • 50% (3 hours) may be obtained through accredited Web-based courses, distance learning, scholarly publications (e.g. books and journal articles), instruction (courses and workshops taught or presented), and computer-assisted instruction.

(17) What is the PACE Continuing Education (CE) Approval Program?

The PACE CE Approval Program approves relevant educational opportunities provided by numerous organizations.


73 Valley Drive, Furlong, PA 18925
(800) 633-PACE (7223)    FAX (215) 794-3386    pacestaff@gmail.com

QUESTIONS? 800-633-PACE (7223) or pacestaff@gmail.com