In our years of practice, child custody cases have comprised some of the most contentious, bitter fights that we have seen. It isn’t difficult to understand why: it involves a parent’s rights to their children. And in any custody dispute involving suitable parents, it is inevitable that each child is going to see their parent less than when the parents were together. This prospect can put any parent on edge. In addition, the issues between the parents that ended their relationship get worse, and not better when battling over the children. For some particularly difficult cases, it is appropriate or necessary to get a “parenting coordinator” involved in a custody case.
What is a Parenting Coordinator?
A parenting coordinator is a person who is appointed by a court in a custody case and tasked with:
- Identifying disputed issues in the custody proceeding.
- Reducing misunderstandings between the parents.
- Clarifying parental priorities.
- Exploring possibilities for compromise between the parents.
- Developing methods of collaboration in parenting.
- Ensuring parental compliance with the court’s order of custody, visitation, or guardianship.
When is a Parenting Coordinator Necessary?
A parenting coordinator can either be appointed by agreement of the parties or by order of a court upon an explicit finding that the child custody proceeding is a “high-conflict” case. A high-conflict case is one in which the parents have demonstrated an ongoing pattern of any of the following: (1) Excessive litigation; (2) Anger and distrust; (3) Verbal abuse; (4) Physical aggression or threats of physical aggression; (5) Difficulty communicating about and cooperating in the care of the minor children; or (6) Conditions that in the discretion of the court warrant the appointment of a parenting coordinator.
Who Can Be A Parenting Coordinator?
To be eligible for appointment as a parenting coordinator, a person must meet the following requirements:
- “Hold a masters or doctorate degree in psychology, law, social work, counseling, medicine, or a related subject area”;
- “Have at least five years of related professional post-degree experience”;
- Hold a current license their area of practice; And,
- “Participate in 24 hours of training in topics related to the developmental stages of children, the dynamics of high-conflict families, the stages and effects of divorce, problem solving techniques, mediation, and legal issues.”
Let New Direction Family Law Assist You
New Direction Family Law is a full service family law firm that proudly provides legal representation regarding child custody disputes. We take child custody issues incredibly seriously and understand just how important it is for your voice to be heard. If you need legal advice or representation, contact us today. We practice in Wake, Johnston, Lee, Harnett, Cumberland, Nash, Granville, Franklin, and Durham counties. Call New Direction Family Law today at (919) 719-3470 to schedule a consultation or visit us online at our website.
Sarah J. Hink
New Direction Family Law