Bower v. Bournay-BowerAnnotate this Case
Mother and Father were the divorced parents of four minor children. Each of the parties filed contempt complaints alleging that the other had violated various terms of the divorce judgment. The judge issued an order requiring a parent coordinator to hear the parties’ disputes regarding custody and visitation before the parties could file any action regarding those disputes in court. The order also granted the parent coordinator authority to make binding decisions on matters of custody and visitation. Mother appealed. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the order appointing the parent coordinator, holding (1) the judge exceeded the bounds of of inherent judicial authority in appointing, without all parties’ approval, the parent coordinator under the facts of this case; and (2) the breadth of authority vested in the parent coordinator constituted an impermissible delegation of judicial decision-making authority.