David R. Hartwig, ESQ.
Attorney & Counselor At Law
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Divorce Conflict? How to pick a Special Master?

If you are reading this, then you know that a Special Master can be used in situations where there is high-conflict in a divorce or custody case; or after the case, if the conflict continues or worsens. But, how do you find a Special Master.


Currently, in Utah, there is no official setting or honorarium. Almost anyone can hang out their shingle and claim to offer Special Master services. Most often, these people are attorneys. But that alone may not make a Special Master.


Having admitted that there is no controlling authority presently, I believe a Special Master should have experience in family law; receiving advanced training in Parenting Coordination, and the special issues and difficulties on parenting coordination; maintain a professional relationship with a national or international society dedicated to studying and resolving family law conflicts; and, maintain that training and experience.


For example: I have practiced in the family law arena since 1986 (31+ years); I subsequently took the time, and spent the money, to receive training at Loyola College of Law on Advanced Issues in Child Custody, and Advanced Practice in Parenting Coordination, sponsored by the international Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC); I have attended additional training provided by AFCC; and, I am a member of that Organization. All of that Special Master Training has occurred over the past 10+ years. And, I have been appointed in a number of cases as a Special Master.


So, if you are experiencing continued family law conflict, and you are looking a a Special Master, these are the kinds of things I think you should look for.

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