Whether it is a Parenting Coordinator, a GAL, an ARC, an Amicus, or anyone you ask the court to appoint, or the court demands, to serve as an extension to the court, to determine the best interest of your child or in resolving your disagreements involving the care, custody, and control of your child, has the potential of becoming another challenger to your perfectly lawful decisions, values, beliefs, and choices regarding your child. Bottom line, they can cost you more, the cost can get out of control, and you won’t be able to get rid of them easily if at all.
Additionally, you might never rid your case of the damage they can do, and they add to your litigation expense in other ways you probably are not aware of either. They can exceed the boundaries expected of their role and become participants in conflicts between parents. And in States like New Mexico, their role might not even be defined and the court might not have even done a background check. Why would they, it’s not required, and it’s not the judge’s children involved in the litigation now is it? Nope, it’s yours.
And if you dare question them, as this father in New Mexico did, you might get cut off from your child indefinitely. Mr. Soto has not seen his son for over a year now and that is after the Parenting Coordinator who goes by the name of Smith (who is not a therapist), “[i]n May 2019 . . . filed a memo in court alleging Soto exhibited “signs of extreme paranoia and psychotic disorder.” The following day, Rosner signed an order limiting Soto to supervised visits with his son at Smith’s direction.
More than a year later, Soto said he has yet to be granted a visit.
He claimed in court filings that the only communication he has had with Smith in that time was when Smith billed him. He alleged that on June 22, after asking Smith about the lack of communication and when he could see his son, Smith retorted: “Don’t tell me how to do my job.”
What Should a Parent Do?
My rule of thumb is if you think you need assistance with your dispute with the other parent, get a private coach for yourself for communicating with your ex and not someone working in the courts and not someone to bolster a court case. No matter what, improving your communication skills so that you can navigate the interactions that you have with your ex or soon-to-be ex, will pay off tenfold in the long run. Even if you have a completely unreasonable ex, everyone can benefit from learning the art of negotiation and survival basically. So many things will trigger you, so much that can happen so quickly, and there are so many things at stake, and the key is learning what to communicate, when, what not, and what will get you what you need out of these interactions. These skills will carry over into the courtroom as well. Once you master these communications and are able to manage your responses, then you are ready to navigate the world of language in your filings. Then the only thing you will be working on is the language chosen for doing the job.
Courts use language to cheat, trick, and steal what you are entitled to all the time. Think about it. How did you lose your rights as soon as you filed your paperwork with the court clerk. The words you chose are used for specific outcomes and the ones that you chose have lead you down the path you are on now. I am not talking about words in general like whether you speak cordially or forcefully. I am speaking about the meanings of the things you ask for and how you convey your grievances, and what you want and need from the court.
It’s a common mistake to think that someone else is better equipped to speak on your behalf and to tell you what to do. So it is my rule of thumb that when you are feeling like you just want to hand it all over to an attorney and anyone else the attorney tells you to employ, take a moment and ask yourself, “do you need someone else to tell you what to do and how to do it?” Are you willing to let someone else make decisions for you for your child? Are you willing to surrender what you know and believe to be best for your child to someone else’s determination of what is best for your child?
Because when you start looking at the decision to ask for a Parenting Coordinator to manage the conflict between you and the other parent in hopes that this person is going to see that you are the better parent, and you are trying to win the title of preferred parent, primary custodial parent, or residential parent, you open yourself up to an unconstitutional practice. So if you are going to want the protections of the constitution then don’t ask or allow the court to play a role that undermines these protections by asking for someone else to come in with a role that is undefined, who is granted quasi-judicial authority and immunity. Undefined roles and roles defined too broadly place you and your child at risk of your parent-child bond being harmed.
I know this is hard, given what is at stake. And it may seem like you don’t have a choice, especially in the heat of the moment and under pressure from an attorney.
You might think that this is the only way that you can get custody of your child and believe that you can get the person appointed on your side, without thinking about how much that could cost you and without thinking about what might happen if they side with the other party and choose not to be neutral. You set that aside as not very likely. This allows you to make bad decisions and not realize it. You have justified what you are doing as necessary and following what the “experts” tell you to do. But the so-called “experts” also are making money on this entire family law scheme and they don’t have anything to lose, only to gain. Do you want to risk it? Do you have to risk it? Is that really the only way?
Nope it’s not. Is it going to be simple if you don’t employ them? Nope it’s not. Is it going to be simple if you do? Nope.
Child custody battles are not simple but involving people who can undermine your authority and holds more influence over your judge than you and your attorney, clouds the protections you and your child are entitled. Without these protections, you can find yourself forever worrying about how every decision you make could be the one that causes you to lose your children. Do you think that the father who decided not to take his son to McDonald’s to get a Happy Meal for dinner thought that he could ever lose his child for not taking him to McDonald’s? I guarantee you that this father had no idea what he was getting into when he agreed or asked for this court-appointed expert to be ordered. This ended up costing this father even more money on more experts including being put on supervised visitation! I bet that father wishes someone had told him that there is a better way to get through child custody litigation without these additional attacks on your rights and time with your child.
Don’t you think these kinds of decisions need to be understood better before you take that sort of risk with the most precious relationship in your life, your child?
Don’t you think that your child is precious enough for you to learn about what protects your ability to protect that child. Your rights don’t stop being your rights because you are going through a divorce or a separation. You might be vulnerable during this difficult transition in your life, but your rights don’t have to be. Ever wonder why attorneys and judges work so hard to get you to do things their way? It’s easier if they can just tell you what to do. They know that they won’t be able to do this easily unless you “consent” and give in somehow. If they can at least get it to look like you are giving in on paper, they have half the battle won. Your efforts to push back and resist them then becomes futile and just annoys them because they know that without the information that we arm you with, you don’t stand a chance, and you are just wasting their time over something you have no idea how to win.
Email me and let me know if you would like to receive more information about where you can learn more about these topics. Inform yourself before you decide who you are going to employ in your child custody case. Before you fork out more money and pay more retainers to people who do not have your best interest at heart or your child’s, let’s talk.
Here is the most recent testimonial from a father who learned how to save money and prevented lengthy delays in his case by using arguments he learned from us.
I had another hearing today on different issues with my own case. This time it was about the Judge having to decide between appointing a GAL or Interviewing the children in private chambers. I opposed to both of them. I won. Saved $15k to $30k of dollars and 6 to 8 months delay in my case. Both were denied. Heavenly Father help me bit the same attorney again as pro-se.
How did I do it? Stick to the constitutional rights you and your children already have. Why people keep waiving them? That’s insane.
Thank you Ron and Sherry!!!! — Father in Florida, July 2020
Why find yourself stuck like the parents in New Mexico? You can read about what they have gone through how much money it cost them, how the Parenting Coordinator who was supposed to be neutral, or so they thought was supposed to be, harmed their relationship with their child, treated them rudely, and had the protection of extended judicial immunity so they couldn’t even be sued easily without having it happen to you! And it gets even more expensive then what is described in the Las Cruces article — these families describe spending several thousands of dollars. That is in addition to their attorney costs. I’ve known parents who have spent $100,000 in six months on a Guardian ad Litem! And that’s in addition to the cost of their attorney as well!
New Mexico does not define the Parenting Coordinator role so the parents who asked for a Parenting Coordinator exposed themselves to unknown risks and costs. “Moreover, there is no licensing board defining and enforcing qualifications or rules for parenting coordinators, although the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts has published recommended professional guidelines.”*
Some states do define this role, but does that make it better, does it make it okay, and should you be comforted by that? Those are questions that you will need answers to before you decide.
Smith looked good to the grandparents who hired him at first and he looked good to the parents who chose him as well.
The choices you make throughout your entire child custody suit is going to determine the outcomes you get. Make the wrong ones and your results can destroy your life and drive you into bankruptcy, worse could land you in jail.
You can be parent of the year and end up in shackles after you are given nothing more than visitation with your child and the privilege of paying child support that you might not be able to afford after they ruin your reputation and get you fired, or after they cost you so much that you cannot afford to pay what they order. You could have a stellar reputation and end up destroyed and embarrassed to use your own name in public or with an employer. You could have a wonderful and close relationship with your child and end up not knowing who your child is anymore and not getting to see them for months or years. And then when you do, they could decide they don’t want a relationship with you anymore.
it is not enough to just hire an attorney, and it is not enough to go along with them or with the court either.
If you would like to get in contact with me, you can inquire through the website contact link here or in the menu above and learn how to spend your money wisely, make decisions that protect you and your child, and see through the smokescreens and tricks that are loaded into the family court fabric. Learn how to do family court differently today and get better outcomes tomorrow.
Even if you have already made some of the mistakes that we talk about in this article, don’t fret, there are usually things that you can do to change the course you have charted. There are lots and lots of options and strategies that have helped many parents find their way out of the traps they find themselves in after going through the family courts without proper guidance and knowledge about the process.*
Want to read more about what the parents in New Mexico are going through and how one Parenting Coordinator named Smith has wreaked havoc and cost these parents and their children, you can read the article here: https://www.lcsun-news.com/in-depth/news/local/2020/07/21/child-custody-parenting-coordinator-complaints-qualifications-southern-new-mexico/5326845002/
* We are not attorneys, do not practice law, and are not a substitute for an attorney. We cannot guarantee results.