PARENTING COORDINATION

What is a Parenting Coordinator?

In North Carolina, a parenting coordinator is a neutral third party appointed by the Court in a “high conflict” child custody case. A North Carolina Certified Parenting Coordinator (PC) is usually an attorney or therapist who has completed specialized training and attends monthly continuing education programs.

What are “High conflict” cases?

“High conflict” cases are those where there is a pattern of the following behavior: 

  • excessive litigation
  • anger and distrust
  • verbal abuse
  • physical aggression or threats of physical aggression
  • difficulty communicating about and lack of cooperation in the care of minor children
  • conditions that in the discretion of the court warrant the appointment of a parenting coordinator

Primary responsibilities

The responsibilities of the parenting coordinator will typically be outlined in the Court order. These responsibilities could include helping parents to:

  • negotiate agreements on parenting tasks
  • understand the terms of the custody order and develop systems to comply with it
  • make any other difficult decisions (i.e. summer camp, religious observation, private vs. public school, tutoring, health care)

Fees for Parenting Coordinator

Fees are identified in the Court order and will typically require a set amount (retainer) to be paid as well as the hourly rate for services. No services will be provided by the Parenting Coordinator until the retainer is provided. 

Communications

The parenting coordinator will provide a written report to the parties and their attorneys after every meeting as well as copies of any other written communications received.  These reports and any communication with the parties and/or their attorneys are not confidential and the coordinator is required to keep notes from each meeting with the parties. The parenting coordinator is required to provide written notification to the court, parties, and their attorneys if the PC makes a finding that the current custody order is not in the best interest of the child or that the PC is not qualified to address or resolve certain issues in the case. Within 2 weeks after the report is submitted, the court shall schedule a hearing and review the matter. The PC shall stay involved with the case until the hearing.

If the parties are able to agree to a fundamental change in the child custody order, then the PC will send the agreement to each parties respective attorney for preparation of a consent order to be filed with the Court.