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Rule changes standardize parenting coordination and neutral evaluation

Supreme Court
Public Information Office

Published: January 25, 2023

The Supreme Court of Ohio has revised dispute resolution regulations in the Rules of Superintendence for the Courts of Ohio to include neutral evaluation and parenting coordination.
Both sets of rule changes look to provide more consistency and simplicity for local courts by creating a flexible structure to best fit each court’s needs. Neutral evaluation and parenting coordination are practices to help resolve disagreements between people in family law and civil cases by using a third party. The rule updates went into effect on Jan. 1.
Neutral evaluators are third parties who share the strengths and weaknesses of a case based on claims and evidence. Increasingly utilized in Ohio courts, the practice is primarily used for family law, but the state is adopting it for civil and estate cases, as well.
Rules 16.50-16.55 establish local rule requirements and detail responsibilities for courts wishing to offer neutral evaluation. The rules also specify performance expectations and mandatory training for neutral evaluators.
Parenting coordination is a dispute resolution process focused on the best outcomes for children. The court-ordered practice assists parents who struggle to comply with judicial parenting mandates. The approach also works to establish effective communication between parents and to resolve disagreements related to their children. Parenting coordination is currently available in over half the state’s counties.
Changes to Rules 16.60-16.66 will conform to current dispute resolution rules to simplify language and decrease local rule and annual court reporting requirements. The rules also update parenting coordination specifics, including responsibilities, education, and training.