Block, Crouch Keeter, Behm & Sayed, LLP

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Melissa D. Wright

Melissa D. Wright

A certified Parenting Coordinator serving parents since 2008, Melissa Wright helps families by applying the knowledge gained through her 12 years of family law practice, her skills and knowledge in the courtroom, mediation and collaborative law experience,
PC training and personal family experience.

Melissa helps parents implement their custody order or parenting plan by facilitating the resolution of disputes between parents and/or legal guardians. Melissa educates parents to help them identify the child’s needs, makes recommendations to help them co-parent, and when necessary, makes decisions within the scope of the court order of appointment.

Melissa meets with the parents to help reduce conflict, teach them better communication skills and to bring awareness of child devel­opent and children’s issues specific to divorce. She works with them to enhance their relationships with their children, and to resolve parenting disputes if a conflict arises that is not addressed in their court order or parenting plan.

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Meet our team

Practice Areas

Parenting Coordination

Parenting Coordination: WHAT?

Couple in counselingParenting Coordination is an alternative dispute resolution process that combines assessment, education, case management, conflict resolution and in some cases, decision-making functions. A Parenting Coordinator (PC) is typically appointed by a court order or consent order to help parents implement, modify and comply with a custody order or parenting plan. PCs assist parents by providing:

  1. Education about co-parenting and parental communications;
  2. Strategies to manage conflict and reduce the negative effects on children;
  3. Guidance to assist parents in complying
    with a custody order or parenting plan;
  4. Effective post-separation parenting methods to foster a spirit of collaboration.

To further assist parents and children, PCs facili­tate referrals to community professionals when necessary, and collaborate with other providers who may already be involved with the family.

Parenting Coordination is not confidential. PCs communicate with the court and with all attorneys involved in the case as necessary. PCs also commu­nicate with therapists, teachers, physicians, law enforcement officals, and other professionals who have relevant information about the parties (parents or children).

Parenting Coordination: WHY?

Child upsetWhen children are exposed to ongoing conflict between their parents, they are at significant risk for social, academic and mental health problems, and many experience more difficulty with their own intimate relationships in the long term.

Often the family law court system simply does not have the time or resources to effectively and promptly deal with family law issues. The length of time it takes to get into court makes immediate resolution of time sensitive child-related issues impossible and imprac­tical. Parenting Coordination helps high-conflict families resolve their disputes outside of court and can dramatically reduce, or even eliminate, the cost associated with excessive litigation.

Parenting Coordination can reduce conflict between parents and may shield children from exposure to their parents’ disagreements. The Parenting Coordinator can help parents resolve child-related issues in a timely manner without court involvement, and can protect and sustain safe, healthy and meaningful parent-child relationships. Most importantly, the Parenting Coordinator can help parents focus on the best interests of their children, rather than on their anger toward one another.

Parenting Coordination: WHEN?

Family in conflictParenting Coordination is appropriate for
high-conflict custody cases in which:

Family separationParenting Coordination: HOW?

Parents may request a PC appointment from the court or may include it in their custody order. The court may also appoint a PC on its own motion if the court has determined that the appointment of a PC is in the best interests of the minor children and is necessary to help the parties co-parent without continuing conflict.

Parenting Coordination: WHO?

Since PCs are appointed in high-conflict cases, their qualifications and experience are particularly important. PCs must meet the qualifications described in North Carolina General Statutes §50-93. Qualified coordinators must hold a Masters or Doctorate degree in psychology, law, social work, counseling or similar field. Additionally, they must have at least five years experience in the area of family law, and must attend parent coordinator seminars that provide continuing education, group discussion, peer review and support.

If you are interested in talking with us about Parenting Coordination, please contact us to schedule an initial consultation.