Parenting Coordination & Guardian Ad Litem Services

Barbara Szombatfalvy is a certified and experienced Guardian ad Litem and Parenting Coordinator. Contact our office to find out more about these services. 

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

In North Carolina custody cases, a Guardian ad litem (GAL) is sometimes appointed by the court to investigate the needs and interests of minor children and make recommendations to the court regarding custody and visitation issues. GALs can be appointed by agreement of the parties or if the parties do not agree, a Judge may still appoint one at the request of a party, or on his/her own initiative. 

A GAL meets with the parties and the children, and interviews witnesses and professionals who are involved with the family. The GAL will then prepare a report with her findings and recommendations. Often, parties who are in conflict will come to an agreement based on the GAL’s recommendations and avoid litigation. If the parties cannot agree, they may move to litigation and the Guardian may be called as a witness in the case. If you are involved in a contested custody matter, talk to your attorney about whether the appointment of a Guardian ad Litem might be appropriate in your case. 

What is a Parenting Coordinator?

North Carolina General Statute §50-90 provides that a Parenting Coordinator (PC) can be appointed by the Court in high conflict custody cases. Per the North Carolina statute, the PC has the authority to “identify disputed issues, reduce misunderstandings, clarify priorities, explore possibilities for compromise, develop methods of collaboration in parenting, and comply with the court’s order of custody, visitation, or guardianship.” In high-conflict cases, where the parties share joint decision-making for the child, they may have difficulty coming to agreements regarding what is in the best interest of their child.  A PC can help the parties sort through their disagreement and may ultimately make a final decision on matters if the parties cannot agree. The PC’s ultimate goal is to reduce conflict between the parties and ensure that the child is not put in the middle of the parents’ conflict. If you are involved in a high-conflict custody matter, talk to your attorney about whether the appointment of a Parenting Coordinator might be appropriate in your case. 

Divorce & Separation Articles

Child Custody Mediation in North Carolina

Custody mediation is provided free of charge by the Court and allows the parties to work with a trained, neutral third party to develop a written parenting agreement.

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The Best Interest of the Children

Under North Carolina law, the Courts will determine custody arrangements according to what is “best interest of the child.”

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