|(a) In accordance with House Bill 1012, 81st Legislature,
Regular Session, 2009, and Texas Family Code, Chapter 153, this section
establishes the practice standards for licensees who desire to serve
as parenting facilitators.
(b) In accordance with the Texas Family Code, §153.601(3-a),
a "parenting facilitator" means an impartial third party:
(1) who, regardless of the title by which the person
is designated by the court, performs any function described by the
Texas Family Code, §153.6061, in a suit affecting the parent-child
(A) is appointed under Texas Family Code, Subchapter
K (relating to Parenting Plan, Parenting Coordinator, and Parenting
Facilitator) by the court on its own motion, or on a motion or agreement
of the parties, to assist parties in resolving parenting issues through
procedures that are not confidential; and
(B) is not appointed under another statute or a rule
of civil procedure.
(c) Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter,
licensees who desire to serve as parenting facilitators must comply
with all applicable requirements of the Texas Family Code, Chapter
153, and this section. Licensees must also comply with all requirements
of this chapter unless a provision is clearly inconsistent with the
Texas Family Code, Chapter 153, or this section.
(d) In accordance with the Texas Family Code, §153.6102(e),
a licensee serving as a parenting facilitator may not provide other
marriage and family therapy services to any person while simultaneously
providing parenting facilitation services. The foregoing rule does
not apply if the court enters a finding that mental health services
are not readily available in the location where the parties reside.
(e) In accordance with the Texas Family Code, §153.6101(b)(1),
an LMFT Associate may not serve as a parenting facilitator.
(f) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator uses
child-focused alternative dispute resolution processes, assists parents
in implementing their parenting plan by facilitating the resolution
of disputes in a timely manner, educates parents about children's
needs, and engages in other activities as referenced in the Texas
Family Code, Chapter 153.
(g) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must
assist the parties involved in reducing harmful conflict and in promoting
the best interests of the children.
(h) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator functions
in four primary areas in providing services.
(1) Conflict management function. The primary role
of the parenting facilitator is to assist the parties to work out
disagreements regarding the children to minimize conflict. To assist
the parents in reducing conflict, the parenting facilitator may monitor
the electronic or written exchanges of parent communications and suggest
productive forms of communication that limit conflict between the
(2) Assessment function. A parenting facilitator must
review applicable court orders, including protective orders, social
studies, and other relevant records to analyze the impasses and issues
as brought forth by the parties.
(3) Educational function. A parenting facilitator must
educate the parties about child development, divorce, the impact of
parental behavior on children, parenting skills, and communication
and conflict resolution skills.
(4) Coordination/case management function. A parenting
facilitator must work with the professionals and systems involved
with the family (for example, mental health, health care, social services,
education, or legal) as well as with extended family, stepparents,
and significant others as necessary.
(i) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must
be alert to the reasonable suspicion of acts of domestic violence
directed at a parent, a current partner, or children. The parenting
facilitator must adhere to protection orders, if any, and take reasonable
measures to ensure the safety of the participants, the children and
the parenting facilitator, while understanding that even with appropriate
precautions a guarantee that no harm will occur may not be stated
(j) In order to protect the parties and children in
domestic violence cases involving power, control and coercion, a parenting
facilitator must tailor the techniques used to avoid offering the
opportunity for further coercion.
(k) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must
be alert to the reasonable suspicion of substance abuse by parents
or children, as well as mental health impairment of a parent or child.
(l) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator may
not provide legal advice.
(m) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must
serve by written agreement of the parties and/or formal order of the
(n) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator may
not begin to provide services until the licensee has received and
reviewed the fully executed and filed court order or the signed agreement
of the parties.
(o) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must
maintain impartiality in the process of parenting facilitation. Impartiality
means freedom from favoritism or bias in word, action, or appearance,
and includes a commitment to assist all parties, as opposed to any
(p) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator:
(1) must end or withdraw services if the licensee determines
the licensee cannot act in an impartial or objective manner;
(2) may not give or accept a gift, favor, loan or other
item of value from any party having an interest in the parenting facilitation
(3) may not coerce or improperly influence any party
to make a decision;
(4) may not intentionally or knowingly misrepresent
or omit any material fact, law, or circumstance in the parenting facilitator
(5) may not accept any engagement, provide any service,
or perform any act outside the role of parenting facilitation that
would compromise the facilitator's integrity or impartiality in the
parenting facilitation process.
(q) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator may
make referrals to other professionals to work with the family, but
must avoid actual or apparent conflicts of interest by referrals.
A licensee may not give or receive a commission, rebate, or similar
remuneration for parenting facilitation or other professional referrals.
(r) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator should
attempt to bring about resolution of issues by agreement of the parties;
however, the parenting facilitator is not acting in a formal mediation
role. An effort towards resolving an issue, which may include therapeutic,
mediation, education, and negotiation skills, does not disqualify
a licensee from making recommendations regarding any issue that remains
unresolved after efforts of facilitation.
(s) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must
communicate with all parties, attorneys, children, and the court in
a manner which preserves the integrity of the parenting facilitation
process and considers the safety of the parents and children.
(t) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator:
(1) may meet individually or jointly with the parties,
as deemed appropriate by the parenting facilitator, and may interview
(2) may interview any individual who provides services
to the children to assess the children's needs and wishes; and
(3) may communicate with the parties through face-to-face
meetings or electronic communication.
(u) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator must,
before the beginning of the parenting facilitation process and in
writing, inform the parties of:
(1) the limitations on confidentiality in the parenting
facilitation process; and
(2) the basis of fees and costs and the method of payment,
including any fees associated with postponement, cancellation and/or
nonappearance, and the parties' pro rata share of the fees and costs
as determined by the court order or written agreement of the parties.
(v) Information obtained during the parenting facilitation
process may not be shared outside the parenting facilitation process
except for professional purposes, as provided by court order, by written
agreement of the parties, or as directed by the council.
(w) In the initial session with each party, a licensee
serving as a parenting facilitator must review the nature of the parenting
facilitator's role with the parents to ensure that they understand
the parenting facilitation process.
(x) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator:
(1) must comply with all mandatory reporting requirements,
including but not limited to Texas Family Code, Chapter 261, concerning
abuse or neglect of minors;
(2) must report to law enforcement or other authorities
if they have reason to believe that any participant appears to be
at serious risk to harm themselves or a third party;
(3) must maintain records necessary to support charges
for services and expenses, and must make a detailed accounting of
those charges to the parties and their counsel, if requested to do
(4) must maintain notes regarding all communications
with the parties, the children, and other persons with whom they speak
about the case; and
(5) must maintain records in a manner that is professional,
legible, comprehensive, and inclusive of information and documents
that relate to the parenting facilitation process and that support
any recommendations made by the licensee.
(y) Records of a licensee serving as a parenting facilitator
are not mental health records and are not subject to the disclosure
requirements of Texas Health and Safety Code, Chapter 611. At a minimum,
records shall be maintained for the period of time described in §153.6083(c)
of the Texas Family Code (concerning Communications and Recordkeeping
of Parenting Facilitator) or as otherwise directed by the court.
(z) Records of a licensee serving as a parenting facilitator
must be released on the request of either parent, as directed by the
court, or as directed by the council.
(aa) Charges for parenting facilitation services must
be based upon the actual time expended by the parenting facilitator,
or as directed by the written agreement of the parties, and/or formal
order of the court.
(bb) All fees and costs must be appropriately divided
between the parties as directed by the court order of appointment
and/or as noted in the parenting facilitators' written fee disclosure
to the parties.
(cc) Fees may be disproportionately divided fees if
one parent is disproportionately creating a need for services and
if such a division is outlined in the court order of appointment and/or
as noted in the parenting facilitators' written fee disclosure to
(dd) Services and activities for which a licensee serving
as a parenting facilitator may charge include time spent interviewing
parents, children and collateral sources of information; preparation
of agreements, correspondence, and reports; review of records and
correspondence; telephone and electronic communication; travel; court
preparation; and appearances at hearings, depositions and meetings.
(ee) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator:
(1) must complete minimum training as required by the
Texas Family Code, §153.6101, as determined by the appointing
(2) must have extensive practical experience with high
conflict or litigating parents;
(3) must complete and document upon request advanced
training in family dynamics, child maltreatment, co-parenting, and
high conflict separation and divorce; and
(4) must regularly complete continuing education related
to co-parenting issues, high-conflict families and the parenting coordination
and facilitation process.
(ff) A licensee serving as a parenting facilitator
must decline an appointment, withdraw, or request appropriate assistance
when the facts and circumstances of the case are beyond the licensee's
skill or expertise.
(gg) Since parenting facilitation services are addressed
under multiple titles in different jurisdictions nationally, acceptability
of training to meet the requirements of subsection (cc) of this section,
is based on functional skills taught during the training rather than
the use of specific titles or names.