What does a Parenting Coordinator Do?

WHO are parenting coordinators?

Parenting coordination is a tool available to parties in contentious custody cases that aims to help the parties resolve minor disputes in custody without repeated visits to the Court. From 2009 through 2013, parenting coordination was used with mixed popularity and mixed results throughout Pennsylvania to resolve day-to-day custody issues. A 2013 Rule of Civil Procedure, handed down by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, extinguished parenting coordination as an improper delegation of judicial duties – in other words, our Supreme Court felt that parenting coordinators were inappropriately replacing custody judges in making custody decisions that should be handled exclusively by the courts.

After about 6 years of negotiations between a variety of professionals (including our judiciary, family law attorneys and mental health professionals), parenting coordination will return to Pennsylvania effective March 1, 2019.

What are Parenting Coordinators?

Parenting coordinators are highly trained family-law attorneys or mental health professionals with a master’s degree or higher. A parenting coordinator must have achieved certain professional benchmarks and have completed an intensive training program.

WHAT is parenting coordination?

A parenting coordinator may be appointed by a judge in cases that involve “repeated or intractable conflict between the parties affecting implementation of the final custody order,” or, put simply, high conflict cases. The parenting coordinator will charge the parties an hourly rate (set by local rules and variable from county to county) to address minor custody issues and make recommendations to the parties. The issues that are subject to the purview of the parenting coordinators include:

  • places and conditions for custodial transitions between households;
  • temporary variation from the custodial schedule for a special event or particular circumstance;
  • school issues, apart from school selection;
  • the child(ren)’s participation in recreation, enrichment, and extracurricular activities, including travel;
  • child-care arrangements;
  • clothing, equipment, toys, and personal possessions of the child(ren);
  • information exchanges (e.g., school, health, social) between the parties and communication with or about the child(ren);
  • coordination of existing or court-ordered services for the child(ren) (e.g., psychological testing, alcohol or drug monitoring/testing, psychotherapy, anger management);
  • behavioral management of the child(ren); and
  • other related custody issues that the parties mutually have agreed in writing to submit to the parenting coordinator, which are not excluded in subdivision (d)(2).

Parenting coordinators can NOT make decisions on the following issues which are preserved as issues that must be submitted to the Court, if the parties reach an impasse:

  • a change in legal custody as set forth in the custody order;
  • a change in primary physical custody as set forth in the custody order;
  • except as set forth in subdivision (d)(1)(ii), a change in the court-ordered custody schedule that reduces or expands the child(ren)’s time with a party;
  • a change in the residence (relocation) of the child(ren);
  • determination of financial issues, other than allocation of the parenting coordinator’s fees as set forth in subdivision (g)(1);
  • major decisions affecting the health, education, or religion of the child(ren); and
  • other issues limited by the appointing judge.

The scope of the parenting coordinator’s authority is narrow and focused and intended to resolve “minor” day-to-day custody disputes while still deferring to the court for more substantial custody issues.


WHERE do I request a parenting coordinator?

A parenting coordinator can be appointed by the Court after the entry of a final Custody Order either by request of a party or parties or via motion of the Court. A parenting coordinator is not necessary in every case and is meant to be preserved for cases where the conflict level is unusually elevated.

The reality of many custody cases is that the parties are no longer an intact family unit because substantial differences have arise between the parents. Personality conflicts, different lifestyles, and different ideologies are compounded when combined with the animosity that often accompanies a couple’s decision to part ways. Decisions that may have been made with ease while the couple was together become major points of contention after a break up. A parenting coordinator can be the tie-breaker on these types of day-to-day disputes without requiring repeat visits to the already overburdened court system over what the court perceives to be minor issues. Parenting coordination can also give parties immediate access to a decision-maker for time-sensitive inquiries. In addition, although the parenting coordinator charges an hourly rate, many parties will find they save funds by sharing in the cost of one decision-maker versus two separate attorneys.

WHY would I consider parenting coordination?

The reality of many custody cases is that the parties are no longer an intact family unit because substantial differences have arise between the parents. Personality conflicts, different lifestyles, and different ideologies are compounded when combined with the animosity that often accompanies a couple’s decision to part ways. Decisions that may have been made with ease while the couple was together become major points of contention after a break up. A parenting coordinator can be the tie-breaker on these types of day-to-day disputes without requiring repeat visits to the already overburdened court system over what the court perceives to be minor issues. Parenting coordination can also give parties immediate access to a decision-maker for time-sensitive inquiries. In addition, although the parenting coordinator charges an hourly rate, many parties will find they save funds by sharing in the cost of one decision-maker versus two separate attorneys.

High Swartz Initiates Sale of Historic Norristown Building

High Swartz Law Firm sells corner building at 425 DeKalb Street in Norristown to developer, making way for luxury apartments and restaurant café space. The developer sought to reclaim the building’s history, while keeping vintage decor intact.

The residential situation at the corner of DeKalb and East Airy Streets in Norristown was dire. The apartments were in very bad shape and the rent it brought in wasn’t enough for the current landlord to keep the property going. That’s when the partners at High Swartz Law Firm just a couple of doors down stepped in.

Approaching 117 years old, 425 DeKalb is the corner building at DeKalb and East Airy Streets which connects to High Swartz’s offices at 40 East Airy Street. This is significant, as the full-service law firm is the original tenant of their building, opening its doors in 1935. To say that High Swartz is bound to Norristown and its overall history would be an understatement. The firm partners saw the opportunity to acquire 425 DeKalb and keep it under High Swartz ownership until the right development, or developer came along.

Enter Ian Truelove, a British developer from Warminster, PA, his son Dominic Truelove and Jared Gruber of JG Real Estate in the winter of 2017. Ian states that the building had good ‘bones’ and is a Victorian architectural eye-catcher. It’s an asset worth preserving for Norristown and the Montgomery County community. The potential was there, although the space needed a lot of work. High Swartz quickly initiated the sale, confirming Ian’s sentiment of the building’s significance and its importance to the Norristown neighborhood.

To understand why Ian Truelove was in the position to develop the building you must first understand his background. While on a visit from London, Ian met his wife Jean through mutual friends in the Delaware Valley area. On top of the relationship, Truelove’s reasoning for moving to Montgomery County was his love of its suburban countryside and the convenience of the American way of life. In short, the Trueloves wanted to start a family here, and that they did. Ian and his wife are the proud parents of 10 children, ranging from 19 to 37, 9 boys and one girl.

construction work at 425 dekalb street in norristown pa | original window apertures
Left: Reinforcing the flooring. Right: Dedicated work to save the original window apertures.


After obtaining historic approval for the project, Truelove requested the assistance of local architects Seiler & Drury for the zoning and code approvals process. Building engineers were hired, consulted and plans were drawn up to solve the structural issues that had manifested over many years. The basement was in total disrepair with distinct mold issues that needed remediation. Father Time and the effects of a nasty fire and roof leaks had caused the central spine of the building to sag. Ian turned to his son Luke to find a way to support the floors during construction.

reclaimed railing, stairs and doors in victorian apartment building in norristown pa
Left: Restoration of original railings and stairsteps. Right: Reclaimed victorian doors finished in original red paint on top of newly installed solid oak floors.


The good bones that Ian stated the building had made it paramount for him to reclaim as much history as possible. On top of saving the terra cotta roof coping tiles, Ian dismantled, refurbished and reinstalled the original Victorian stair rail. Entry doors were refinished and repainted in period-correct Victorian red. Original window apertures were restored and energy-efficient full-sized sash windows were installed. It was then that the crew discovered an original short stair that had been covered up during apparent mid-century home improvements. When originally built, this stair enabled the shopkeeper and family to have direct access from the home above into the storefront and basement below.

Victorian baking oven inset into original brick wall in apartment in norristown, pa
Old and New: Quartz countertops stand next to a Victorian baking oven built into original brick wall in one of the apartments


After almost a year of repairs and rehabbing, the spaces were ready to be unveiled. The restaurant offers a prime opportunity for tenants to appreciate the history of the building. It’s equipped with an ADA-compliant bathroom and second bathroom with original fittings. There is full basement access under the restaurant space and adjoining kitchen. Areas of exposed original red brick embellish the dining area while a reclaimed Victorian enamel stove found in the basement sits as decor. The apartments similarly have a taste of the old and new. Quartz countertops sit next to a Victorian baking oven that now is simply a statement piece. Ornate columns and trimwork were rehabbed and solid oak floors were installed throughout each apartment.

victorian style trimwork and columns in apartment building at dekalb and east airy streets in norrisotwn pennsylvania | Montgomery county
Original trimwork and columns were refinished and restored.


In all, Truelove converted the space into 4 luxury apartments and restaurant space. On February 21, Truelove hosted an open house for local Norristown Zoning and Code Officials and Council members. The feedback has been tremendous and the results speak for themselves. Being able to save an important building from new construction is one of Ian’s proudest accomplishments. That of course, and the births of Jean and Ian’s 10 children.

furnished apartment at 425 dekalb and 46 east airy street in norristown pa | Montgomery county


Contact Ian Truelove at hazelnutpropertiesllc@gmail.com or call 215.740.8072 for more information on the available spaces.

What Are the Rules on Retaliation – Can I Discipline an Employee Who Has Previously Complained About Discrimination?

Being an employer requires multiple hats. Aside from day-to-day business operations and long-range planning, employers have to hire and fire employees, investigate workplace complaints, and discipline employees for improper actions. Throughout each of these tasks and others, it is critical to act consistently with state and federal labor and employment laws. Those who don’t follow the law will risk litigation.

Our lawyers are often asked about discrimination and retaliation – employers often wonder whether it is possible to can discipline an employee who has made a discrimination complaint, either formally or informally. The short answer is no – retaliation is prohibited under the law when an employee exercises a protected right.

Opposing an Act of Discrimination Complaint Is a Protected Activity

Employees have the right to a workplace that is free from discrimination. What’s more, if discrimination occurs, any employee affected by the discrimination, including an employee who merely witnesses the discrimination but is not a target of it, maintains the right to file a complaint with their employer, the state or local Human Relations Commission, or the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The law protects those who file claims of discrimination against retaliation. But legal protections extend beyond those who file formal claims: even speaking out against discrimination at the workplace is a protected activity.

Employers Cannot Retaliate When Employees Exercise Protected Rights

Although continuing to employ someone who has made a discrimination complaint may be frustrating, especially if the complaint appears to be unfounded, an employer may not legally retaliate against the employee. Retaliation is prohibited under federal and state law, and includes the following actions:

  • Demoting the employee;
  • Reducing the employee’s pay;
  • Terminating the employee;
  • Increasing scrutiny of the employee;
  • Denying the employee deserved opportunities;
  • Making negative comments on an employee’s review;
  • Harassing or threatening the employee; or
  • Taking any other adverse action against the employee that is in retaliation to the employee’s filing of a discrimination complaint (or exercising another protected right).

What Happens If I Retaliate Against an Employee Who Filed a Discrimination Complaint?

If you retaliate against an employee who filed a discrimination complaint, you could be in hot water, legally speaking. If this is the case, or if you are being accused of retaliation, you should protect yourself by hiring an employment law attorney familiar with the defense of employers against employee claims. If you are found guilty of unlawful retaliation, you could face multiple consequences, including payment of compensatory and punitive damages to the employee. You may also be asked to pay the employee’s lawyers’ fees and court costs, and be required to pay a civil fine for the offense.

Building a Defense

The key to avoiding any litigation is to have a strategic plan in place, and to know the law as it pertains to discrimination and retaliation. If a complaint of discrimination is brought against you for unlawful retaliation, our lawyers can help. We can try to prove that any action taken against an employee was not related to the employee’s action of exercising a protected right. We can also help you to understand other options and defenses, and will work hard to protect your best interests.

Learn More About Retaliation and the Law

Understanding the law is the best way to address any employee disputes or litigation. If you have more questions about your rights as an employer, or what to do if an employee files a claim against you, call our employment law attorneys at the office of High Swartz LLP today for a consultation.