Setting Some Ground Rules

Volunteer Negotiates Amicable Parenting Agreement

When asked to handle a court appointment for a case involving eight children, Child Rep volunteer, Shenita Johnson, did not shy away from the task. CVLS was appointed as Child Representative when the children’s father filed several motions requesting additional parenting time. There was no dispute that the children’s mother was and always had been their primary caretaker.

Shenita interviewed all eight children, ranging in ages from 10 to 17 years old. She learned that the father had filed these motions because he was dissatisfied with his child support obligation. The father reasoned that he could reduce his support obligation by splitting parenting time with the mother. The children were doing well with their mother and seeing the father regularly, so there was no need for an adjustment in parenting time.

Once Shenita determined the father’s actual motivations and confirmed that the mother was the best caregiver for the children, she was able to negotiate an agreement. The agreement designates the mother as the parent with majority parenting time and gives the father reasonable and consistent access to the children. In the agreement, Shenita puts into place rules and expectations for communication and parenting time in order to diffuse any future disputes between the parties.

Shenita Johnson, Volunteer Attorney
Shenita Johnson, Volunteer Attorney
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