The Access and Visitation Program strives to eliminate the barriers that prevent a non-custodial parent from having access to and visitation with their children in families where parents either do not agree and/or do not cooperate with shared parenting. Non- custodial parents have few if any resources to assist them in gaining visitation with their children outside of filing a lawsuit in court, which many non-custodial parents cannot afford. Therefore, the assistance that the access and visitation coordinator provides is especially valuable as it is often the only service available to parents to ensure both parents are involved with their children.
This Program assists non-custodial parents in gaining visitation or increased visitation with their children by opening the lines of communication between the custodial and non- custodial parents, ideally without court intervention. Community mediation is often available to the parents when the situation does not require court intervention. For high conflict families, supervised visitation services allow for increased visitation without the need for a confrontation between the parents. In extreme situations when these remedies do not work and a lawsuit must be filed, the access and visitation coordinators can navigate the non-custodial parent through the sometimes confusing and complex court process. In NC, parties to a custody lawsuit are required to participate in mediation offered by the court. Access and visitation coordinators assist clients to access the court system by assisting them with the completion of necessary paperwork (pro se packets) to file a lawsuit on their own.