Co-parenting following a divorce can be difficult to manage. There are often unexpected matters that arise between co-parents, whether large or small, that impact current custody arrangements and decisions on how best to raise your children. While the court system may be the best way to navigate these issues for some families, others may wish to handle matters in a less formal, quicker, less expensive manner than litigation in court.
What is A Special Master?
A special master in the family law context is a court-appointed individual with the authority to decide or recommend resolutions to disagreements related to child custody matters. A special master can handle many common areas of disagreement including co-parenting, parent-time scheduling, school matters and extra-curricular activities, health care matters and behavioral boundaries.
The special master is able to receive the concerns of both parents, review court documents related to the case, confer and/or consult with treating and other mental health professionals, a guardian ad litem, the parties’ respective attorney if applicable and, if necessary and permitted, meet with children to get a more complete understanding of the matter before issuing a decision on how best to manage the dispute. The decisions and/or recommendations issued by a special master may be binding or can be presented to a judge for a final decision based on the circumstances of the case. A special master may be utilized either pre-trial in a complex case or after a divorce is finalized.
What is the Benefit to Using a Special Master?
A special master can be a helpful alternative in child custody cases as they are able to become familiar with a family’s circumstances and, if necessary, are able to speak to children outside of a formal court setting. This also reduces the amount of time spent in repeated, costly, drawn out court cases that may take months to resolve even the smallest issues.
The attorneys and legal professionals at Gravis Law have extensive experience with child custody matters and creating parenting plans with your children’s best interests in mind. Contact us today to find out more about our special master services.