You and your spouse have a child custody order, and now everything should run smoothly without any conflict, right? Maybe not. The goal of a custody order is to define the co-parenting relationship between separated or divorced parents. The order should specify the custodial schedule and define the rights and responsibilities of each parent. Unfortunately, a custody order cannot address every issue and question that may arise. Parents who are still experiencing conflict even after the entry of a custody order may benefit from a Parenting Coordinator.
The Parenting Coordinator role is defined in the North Carolina statutes (N.C.G.S. 50-90, et seq.). The statutes allow a judge to appoint a Parenting Coordinator in “high conflict” custody cases, or in cases where the parties and their attorneys agree to the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator. A Parenting Coordinator cannot modify a custody order. Rather, the Parenting Coordinator helps the parents implement their custody order.
For instance, suppose a custody order provides that Dad’s visitation begins every other Friday when the children are released from school. Is it permissible for Dad’s new wife to pick up the children at school? The Mother hates the idea and says that the custody order does not authorize new wife to pick up the children. Dad says that the order is silent on that point and Mom cannot micro-manage his time with the children.
Without a Parenting Coordinator, these people may have a nasty confrontation at the school. They may end up in court dealing with contempt charges. However, the Parenting Coordinator can work with the parents to resolve this issue without the stress, time and expense of a court appearance.
David Irvine’s training and experience compliment his role as a Parenting Coordinator. David is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as a Superior Court Mediator and a Family Financial Mediator. At Irvine Law Firm, we also embrace the concept of Collaborative Law. The focus of our practice on resolution without litigation means that Parenting Coordination is a perfect fit for us.
Benefits Of Parenting Coordination
- Less conflict with the other parent;
- Resolve issues more quickly;
- Less expensive than litigation;
- Parents take an active & constructive role resolving conflicts.
For the Court System:
- Decreased litigiousness;
- Lower cost (fees of the Parenting Coordinator borne by the parties);
- More immediate resolution of time-sensitive issues decreasing the need for emergency orders;
- Less demand on already over-burdened administrative resources.
- Less parental conflict means less emotional & academic problems for children;
- Effective co-parenting creates children likely to be better parents;
- Decreased stress, which makes happier & healthier children;
- Parenting Coordinators can make referrals to community providers and can collaborate with other professionals already assisting the family;
- Parenting Coordination is focused on the best interest of the children.
The goal of Parenting Coordination is not merely to have a less expensive, more accessible substitute for a judge. The goal is for the parents to learn to co-parent without the need for intervention by the court or a Parenting Coordinator. The goal is to raise happy, healthy, well-adjusted children. If your child custody arrangement is difficult and stressful, contact us to see whether a Parenting Coordinator could help.