KELLY VICKERS: PARENTING COORDINATOR
My mother took in over a hundred foster infants and toddlers as I grew up here in Albuquerque. I worked with her side by side, nurturing, cuddling, feeding, and changing diapers. As long as I can remember my life has focused on advocating the best interests of New Mexico's children.
As an attorney in the Southeast I was appointed by judges to represent hundreds of children in the role of Guardian ad Litem and as defense counsel for children accused of criminal conduct. I have been involved in nearly every kind of case imaginable: child victims of physical, verbal and sexual abuse, "crack babies," children with disabilities, children who watched one parent murder the other---thereby losing both, neglected children, and those caught within a war for custody. I've been stalked and had guns pointed at me by drug addicted and/or mentally ill parents who disagreed with my recommendations to the court. I strongly believe in preserving families, yet to me the children come first, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to protect an abused or neglected child under my watch--even if it leaves angry parents in the wake.
I was appointed as Deputy Assistant Attorney General and charged with protecting children involved with the Department of Human Resources. In the worst of cases, with long term abuse or neglect and parents who have failed at every chance to rehabilitate, I worked on behalf of the state to terminate parental rights so children could be fully integrated into new families where they are nurtured, accepted and loved. This was difficult, emotionally charged work involving the worst of the worst, yet I did what had to be done to put children first.
In ministry I cut steal beams and hammered nails helping to build an orphanage in Juarez and helped distribute Christmas boxes to thousands of children who lived in stunning poverty. I've taught pastors and missionaries skills like magic tricks and clowning to help reach out to children. I've worked in food and clothing banks helping the poorest of the poor to make it another day.
I've processed dozens of private adoptions and even adopted a child myself. As volunteer counsel for a center which helped women in crisis I provided legal assistance for families struggling to survive.
The stories of the children I've served over the years sometimes haunt and often delight me to this day. I am honored to have been able to help.
PUTTING THE BEST OF INTERESTS
OF THE CHILD FIRST: MY PROCESS
PARENTING PLAN DETERMINATION: In divorce and other custody disputes attorneys for the parents file a motion to appoint me as a Parenting Coordinator. I meet with each attorney and get their view on the issues and obtain names and dates of birth. I then run a background check on the parties, looking especially for a history of substance abuse or domestic violence. I interview the parents and other primary caregivers, such as grandparents, to get the positions of those who have cared for the child or children at issue. If the child is old enough to communicate I meet with the child and determine their wishes, their fears, and gain their perspective on the past and their hope for the future. As needed I obtain and review medical and school records and interview professionals involved in the child's life. Whatever it takes, I do zealously.
Finally, I prepare a detailed report summarizing my findings and expressing the child's eye view of what is in their best interest. The report may detail steps parents and care givers need to take to help them best meet the child/children's needs. The report will specifically address my strong recommendations regarding custody, visitation and support. It is anticipated that these recommendations will be incorporated into a parenting plan that is endorsed by the court. These services may be ongoing as circumstances change during and after the litigation process.
In the event the parties are not willing to follow my recommendations I will testify in court regarding my investigations and the foundation for my report.
ONGOING RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT REGARDING THE CHILD/REN: In high conflict matters where the parents are not able to routinely discuss and agree on issues regarding the child/ren I am appointed by the court to hear the party's positions, investigate and issue a decision directing the parents on those issues. To litigate such issues takes six months to a year, is often cost prohibitive, and creates strife that the child/ren sense. Using my services provides prompt, ecomonically appropriate resolutions to the issues. My directions may be opposed and appealed to the court, yet the court will generally defer to my judgment. Call for more information.
Please contact me for hourly rates and flat fee options.
"NEXT FRIEND SERVICES"
I am also available to serve as court appointed "next friend" in civil litigation regarding children and other incompetent individuals. I have been appointed in this capacity in Bernalillo county where the parents do not speak English and feel it is in the best interest of their child to have someone who is familiar with the court process and articulate in English to protect their child.
Copyright 2012 Kelly Vickers, Please see my contact page and call for more information.