Special Master

A Special Master is a professional who is appointed by the court to act on behalf of the court in a quasi-judicial manner by making day-to-day decisions for divorcing families in high conflict. Special masters serve an important role in high conflict divorces by helping to resolve issues between parents and attempting to make the overall adjustment by children an easier transition. Special masters can be mental health professionals or attorneys and utilize a plethora of interpersonal skills to deescalate situations.

Unfortunately, all too often the court sees couples who are constantly bickering and bringing every parental issue before the court instead of coming to an agreement on their own, at the detriment of their children. A special master provides dispute resolution with speedier access to the courts. While it is important that the Special Master appointed to a family be understanding of both parent’s decisions and the positions when a situation occurs, their main priority is making a decision that is in the child’s best interests.

How the Process Works

Generally, when an issue arises, the problem is brought to the attention of the family’s Special Master. Each person involved in the conflict speaks with the Special Master, and most of the time, the Special Master tries to act as a mediator to help the parties achieve a result that is mutually beneficial. If an agreement is not reached, the Special Master is usually charged with presenting recommendations to the parties and court via a report. In some cases, the Special Master will make binding decisions on the parties and their attorneys. The Special Master has special knowledge of the interworking’s and underlying emotions in many of the family disputes, and is able to suggest recommendations he or she feels to be fair to both parties.

If you would like to have a Special Master from our office appointed to your case, or if you already have a Special Master on your case and you have questions about his or her role, our office can help you with any questions you may have.

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