Divorce can lead to emotional disputes over issues such as where children should live and parenting time schedules. Resolving child custody and visitation issues in court can be time-consuming, expensive and stressful. An alternative in North Carolina is to resolve these issues using a parenting coordinator.
At Kennedy Law Associates in Charlotte, North Carolina, our lawyers are here to help you resolve child custody issues using a civil approach. Attorney Marsha Kennedy is a certified family law mediator and a parenting coordinator.
Parenting Coordinators in North Carolina
A parenting coordinator is a neutral person you can turn to when you have a dispute with your ex involving the care and control of the children. Hiring a parenting coordinator is usually faster and less expensive than going to court.
Parenting coordinators also have an advantage over the courts in that they can spend more time with your family to help you find a solution that fits your family’s unique needs.
Parenting coordinators are often used in high-conflict custody cases. A high-conflict case is a child custody action involving minor children where the parties demonstrate an ongoing pattern of any of the following:
- Excessive litigation
- Anger and distrust
- Verbal abuse
- Physical aggression or threats of physical aggression
- Difficulty communicating about and cooperating in the care of the minor children
- Conditions that in the discretion of the court warrant the appointment of a parenting coordinator. N.C.G.S. § 50-90.
The authority of a parenting coordinator shall be specified in the court order appointing the parenting coordinator and shall be limited to matters that will aid the parties:
- Identify disputed issues
- Reduce misunderstandings
- Clarify priorities
- Explore possibilities for compromise
- Develop methods of collaboration in parenting
- Comply with the court’s order of custody, visitation, or guardianship. N.C.G.S. § 50-92.
How Do I Hire a Parenting Coordinator?
In North Carolina, you can hire a parenting coordinator on your own, or one may be appointed by a court.
When appointed by a judge, the coordinator has the authority to make binding recommendations, if the parents are unable to reach an agreement. Parents can challenge the recommendation in court.
When you hire a parenting coordinator on your own, the recommendations of the parenting coordinator aren’t binding.