Many people going through a divorce have significant difficulties communicating with each other. However, for the sake of their children, healthy communication between parents is key, particularly in light of research indicating that constant parental conflict correlates with poor adjustment in children following a divorce. For the 30% of parents going through a high-conflict divorce, finding a way to communicate may feel like a necessary, but impossible task. Fortunately, there are North Carolina laws in place to improve communication between conflicting parents in a way that reduces stress for both the parents and the children.
North Carolina family law permits the use of a Parent Coordinator. A parent coordinator is a person trained to assist parents in improving communication and reaching compromises on parenting issues. When parents cannot make decisions together, the Parent Coordinator makes the final call. Parent Coordinators are often used when parties do not trust one another, when they cannot agree on anything, or when they struggle to communicate. For example, Channing Tatum, a popular Hollywood actor, recently requested a co-parenting counselor to assist with scheduling-related matters with his ex-wife, Jenna. With Channing’s case, it is easy to understand that he and his wife may have constantly changing, irregular schedules. But even with “normal” people, conflicts arise where having a third-party neutral can help minimize conflict between the parties before it rises to the level (and expense) of needing to return to court for a Judge’s help.
In North Carolina, a Parent Coordinator acts as an extension of the Court system, which allows the issue of child custody to be separated from the Court for some time. Instead of having to wait months to resolve issues, a Parent Coordinator can make decisions quickly. The speed of decisions and the fact that attorneys don’t need to be involved in every communication with a Parent Coordinator saves parents (and the Mecklenburg County Courts system) time and money.
The goal of most Parent Coordinators is to act temporarily in managing conflict while tempers die down, while new routines are established, and while the parents learn to communicate more effectively. While some child custody cases benefit from a Parent Coordinator until the children turn 18, in most cases, a Parent Coordinator is like Mary Poppins, there until the family no longer has a need.
To learn more about Parent Coordinators, contact the attorneys at Skufca Law by calling 704-376-3030 or fill out the contact us form.