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Shared Custody is Not Working - Tools

Posted by Kathleen Murphy | Apr 02, 2019

Wake County judges are typically not only limiting the time allotted for your case but the judges are also applying a 50/50 presumption meaning shared legal and physical custody is presumed to be in the best interests of children.  As a result of this presumption, it is difficult to change a judge's mind that one parent should have sole legal and physical custody.  If you have a 50/50 arraignment and your children are suffering, consider these thoughts and resources:

Parent Coordinator Appointment

A Parent Coordinator ("PC") may be requested in high conflict cases.   A good PC is essentially a mini-judge who is ordered to make decisions that do not substantially alter or affect the underlying custody Order.  For example, if the parties are in disagreement regarding whether a child should play soccer, the PC will consider all the arguments of the parents and make a binding decision.  The parent who disagrees must comply unless the court sets aside the decision of the PC.

Click Here for Parent Coordinator Law

Our Family Wizard

If you are dealing with one parent who plays games with communications and the schedules, OFW is a great tool to lock in the issues.  Essentially, an Order can be entered requiring OFW to be the sole source of communication.  The emails do not get deleted and there is a tone monitor add-on that will assist in keeping communication civil.  Further, it reduces those crazy text messages that seem to inundate your day.  The program has an Info Bank where daily work can be uploaded to insure the other parent is getting all the data from school and the Calendar allows parents to put the schedule on a calendar with clarity.

Click Here for Our Family Wizard

Co-Parenting Therapist

Many judges are requiring parents to attend co-parenting therapy together where the therapist teaches the families how to communicate effectively for the children.  Several co-parent therapists in Wake County focus their practice on this type of care and learning new methods of communication may help.  Some co-parenting therapists recommend Parallel Parenting which is a concept better explained in the attached article.

Click Here for Parallel Parenting Article

Therapy for Minor Children and Parents

Children are being referred to therapy to deal with the conflicts of their parents.  

The Child's Advocate

The Child's Advocate is a lawyer assigned to represent the minor children.  The Child's Advocate is typically best for children who are able to be vocal in their concerns and who have needs and wants not being put forth by the parents.   

Click Here for The Child's Advocate

In summation, we believe that shared custody in high conflict cases, cases with addictions, cases with mental health issues affecting the children and cases where the parents are unable to communicate should not happen.  When the courts do award shared custody in these types of cases, the children lose and there is a greater need for the type of intervention outlined above.

About the Author

Kathleen Murphy

Kathleen Murphy is graduate of North Carolina State University with a B.A. in Political Science, 1985. She attended Campbell University Law School and received her Juris Doctorate, 1988. Ms. Murphy has been a family law attorney for over 30 years and has limited her practice solely to family law since 1988. On October 1, 2023, Kathleen accepted a position as a senior attorney with Triangle Divorce Lawyers and she can be reached at [email protected]. Ms. Murphy is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, North Carolina Bar Association, NCBA Family Law Section Member, is a trained Family Financial Mediator and a trained Child's Advocate. Ms. Murphy is married to a City of Raleigh Firefighter and has four children, three daughters and a son. Ms. Murphy is a contributor to an International podcast. Crime Stories with Nancy Grace is broadcasted daily and you can hear Ms. Murphy's comments on cases involving victims of family crimes and the impact of family court.