Visitation is not mandatory for the non-custodial parent. I’m not sure what a parent coordinator is or does, but I am pretty sure they can’t mandate the father to visit his children. You said you don’t have an agreement signed for the visitation, so he doesn’t really have to call or visit them at all. I know you would LIKE that, but you can’t make him do it. Your children are obviously still hurt from the separation. Maybe in time, both sides will come around.
I do not know exactly what a parent coordinator does or how much good it will do at this point to hire someone to “help” your situation. It sounds, to me at least, as though your ex expects you and his children to just immediately adapt to the new people in his life and not have any issues. On a more personal level it also sounds like he’s trying to replace one family with another, and that he doesn’t know his own children very well or worry that this is hurting them.
You should be able to have the agreement read really however you want it to. This sounds like you want to let the children make their own decision about visiting with their father but that their father has stopped making an effort to visit or negotiate with you on this matter. Normally, I would not suggest to anyone for children to be allowed to make their own decision regarding this but in this case, there really isn’t a decision. If he doesn’t want to visit his children he can not be forced to. All you can do is make sure that the children know you are there for them for any reason and keep them talking to someone. Let them know that it is NOT their fault. I commend your efforts to keep your stbx involved with the children and their lives but enough is enough. Don’t waste time and effort on something that is out of your control. Put that time and energy into your children. Send him a letter, certified if you want, with all the importand dates and times for the children and quit making it your job to make sure their father is involved. Since he hangs up on you it’s possible that he doesn’t read the letter, but at least this way you have tried to inform him of their activities, so if he comes back you have proof, that can be used in court if necessary, that you tried. Keep detailed records of visits, phone calls (if possible) and everything else if you can. It sounds like you have your hands full, so I recommend not taking on his responsibility to the children. That is just my opinion though…
The purpose of a parent coordinator is to facilitate the communication between parents who have a high level of conflict. The theory behind it is that a high level of conflict between parents can and does have a negative impact on the children. Unfortunately, a parent coordinator cannot make him be a good parent.
The cost of a parent coordinator can vary based on the specific parent coordinator that you choose. Generally the cost is between $150 to $200 per hour and the cost is generally split between parties. The parent coordinator does have the power allocate the cost to one party or the other if he believes that either party is abusing the services of the parent coordinator.
Generally, one party or the other will contact the parent coordinator when there is a conflict they need their assistance on. The parties do not need to use the coordinator for issues they are able to resolve on their own. Generally an order for a parent coordinator will require you to have a pre-appointment conference and one individual session each with the parent coordinator and then you will contact them as needed.
If you have not signed the order yet, I would consult with your attorney and find out if your attorney’s believes you are under a legal obligation to sign the Order now that it has been stated to the Judge. If your attorney does not believe that you are under a legal obligation to sign the order, then you can negotiate to remove the parent coordinator provision.
It is unfortunate that he does not want to have contact with his children, he is probably missing out on some really precious memories. You cannot control what he does, only what you do. I would recommend that you get your children into counseling so that they can cope with their relationship with their father. I wish you the best of luck.
Helena M. Nevicosi
Attorney with Rosen Law Firm
4101 Lake Boone Trail, Suite 500
Raleigh, North Carolina 27607
919.787.6668 main phone
919.787.6361 main fax
301 McCullough Drive
Charlotte, NC 28262
Main Voice: 704.307.4600
Main Fax: 704.943.0044
1829 East Franklin Street, Bldg 600
Chapel Hill, NC 27514
919.321.0780 main phone
919.787.6668 main fax
The response posted above is based upon the limited factual information made available and is not intended as a full and complete response to the question. The only reliable manner to obtain complete and adequate legal advice is to consult with an attorney, fully explain your situation, and allow the attorney sufficient opportunity to research the applicable law and facts required to render an accurate opinion. The basic information provided above is intended as a public service but a full discussion with an attorney should be undertaken before taking any action.
My husband abandoned his family (wife and 4 children) in September and immediately moved in with his mistress. Since then he has had very minimal contact with his children (they range in age from 11-17). The children are hurt and all are going to a psychologist. Up to a month ago he would see them about twice a month for a dinner at a restaurant. Our oldest would drive his younger three sisters. According to my son these dinners are usually upsetting to his sisters as dad brings up new girlfriend and her children and talkss about what they are doing. The psychologist suggested that their dad concentrate on his daughters when he sees them and called him to talk to him about ways to facilitate visitation but he refused to go see the psychologist or to talk to her about ideas. The girls (ages 11, 13,16) refuse to go with him sometimes.
We went to court for child support and visitation but settled on a visitation schedule prior to the hearing. The hearing went forward for child support. The agreement was for him to see his children every other weekend for 4 hours and to call and arrange dinners with them as much as he can. Also that a parent coordinator would get involved.That was a month ago and he has not called once, and has not seen them once in that time. I have tried to call him several times to tell him about end-of-the year school events and he hangs up the phone when he sees the home # or my cell # on his caller ID. I do wish that the children see their father but he is not taking any initiative. What exactly will a parenting coordinator do and how costly are they. We are to split the cost but I do not work and he is a high paid surgeon (who operates on kids so should know how to act regarding children) I am currently using any extra resources to send oldest to college this fall as husband has not agreed to pay anything yet, and I know the court cannot make him do that. I have not signed any papers regarding this visitation schedule but it was stated to the judge prior to the support hearing. Can we negotiate to have visitation “as both parties agree and take into account the wishes of the children.” to save the expense of the coordinator. I do not think my husband will agree to anything he says, as he is very controlling. He says “I will not beg for my children, they need to come to me.”