In May 2000, Joseph M. Buckner, then Chief District Court Judge for Judicial District 15-B, asked key representatives in the legal and mental health communities to develop local court rules for Chatham and Orange Counties to implement the use of GALs and PCs in high conflict custody cases. In June 2001, he signed Judicial District 15-B’s Custody and Visitation Local Rules that govern the use of Civil District GALs and PCs. It was determined there was the need for a committee to monitor this newly established program in the Judicial District. Judge Buckner asked several members of the original committee to continue to serve the community by overseeing this program. This oversight committee became the first Board of Directors of the Center.
A judicial staff member serves ex officio as liason with the Chief District Judge and provides staff support by tracking the appointment of GALs and PCs in the District, and maintaining the lists of professionals serving as GALs and PCs.
Since tracking began in 2001, there have been many cases where Civil District GALs or parent coordinators were appointed. Judicial District 15-B requires special training to serve as a Civil District GAL or PC. The Center for Cooperative Parenting periodically offers training for new GALs and PCs, as well as advanced training on associated topics.
Anderson, Chuck - Mediator/Attorney
Address: 921 Boothe Hill Road, Chapel Hill, NC 27517
A native of Raleigh and graduate of UNC-CH and UNC-Law (’76), Chuck began his legal career with N C Legal Services in Orange and Chatham Counties before moving on to direct N C Prisoner Legal Services. From 1985-1996 he practiced privately in Chapel Hill with the Northen Blue law firm, and in 1996 beganservice as a state district court judge. He retired in 2016 to begin a mediation practice through N C Mediated Solutions, ncmediatedsolutions.com.
Over the years Chuck worked with community agencies addressing poverty reduction, public education, domestic violence, serving on the Boards of Joint Orange Chatham Community Action, The Chatham Education Foundation, Chatham Communities in Schools, and Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County. Professionally Chuck has served as President of the Orange County Bar Association and as a member of the N C Dispute Resolution Commission.
Blystone, Erica - Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Address: 4070 Barrett Road, Raleigh, NC 27609
Erica Blystone, LCSW, has a private practice in Wake county, NC. She received her BA from the University of Virginia (1997) and her MSW from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (2001). She has worked with children and adolescents from diverse backgrounds in a variety of environments and currently focuses on adults. She provides individual therapy, couples counseling, and divorce services (divorce consulting, co-parenting therapy, and Child Specialist services in Collaborative Divorce). She has been a parent coordinator for NC family courts.
Bowman, John - Attorney Certified Mediator
Phone: 919.493.6464 x106
Address: John A. Bowman, Esq. Maxwell, Freeman & Bowman, PA
2741 University Drive, Durham, North Carolina 27707
John A. Bowman is a native of Richmond, Virginia, with an undergraduate degree from Virginia Military Institute (‘78). He completed his legal education in 1984 at Campbell University School of Law. John’s practice includes various aspects of civil litigation; however, his primary focus is in divorce and family law matters. An experienced trial lawyer handling all aspects of divorce and family law, John’s practice also includes non-litigation approaches to resolving family law disputes. He is certified by the Dispute Resolution Commission of North Carolina in Family Law Mediation; and, he has been trained in and practices Collaborative Family Law, as well.
A former President of the Fourteenth Judicial District Bar and the Durham County Bar Association, John has also served the Bar in various state-wide positions including service as a North Carolina State Bar Councilor for the 14th Judicial District, Member of North Carolina Bar Association’s Past Bar Presidents’ Committee, Board Member and Past Chair of North Carolina State Bar Lawyer Assistance Program (“LAP”), and the Board of Directors for Bar CARES of North Carolina, Inc.
In the community, John has served as a Youth Soccer Coach with the YMCA and the Durham/Chapel Hill Strikers Association. Additionally, he has served on various local Boards including Families Moving Forward, Center For Cooperative Parenting, Durham Homeless Services Advisory Committee, Latino Educational Achievement Partnership (“LEAP”), Urban Ministries of Durham (“UMD”), the YMCA, the Durham County Library Board of Trustees, and the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science.
Forneris, Catherine A. - Licensed Psychologist & Attorney
Address: P.O. Box 51805, Durham, NC 27717
Catherine A. Forneris, Ph.D., JD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. Her undergraduate degree is from Syracuse University and she earned graduate degrees in Biomedical Science and Clinical Psychology from the University at Albany, State University of New York. As a psychologist, she is a board member of the North Carolina Psychological Association, chair of the Continuing Education Committee, and a member of the Legislative Committee. She has co-authored several research articles and been the lead author on several paper presentations on trauma, PTSD, depression, health care utilization, and women’s health. The primary focus of her current clinical work is cognitive behavioral therapy with adults, including those with personality disorders. She is also a medical co-director of the UNC Hospitals Beacon Child and Family program which provides a variety of services to employees and patients of all ages and their families who are victims of interpersonal violence.
Dr. Forneris completed the part-time Evening Program at North Carolina Central University School of Law, where she received her law degree, with honors, in 2016. She became a member of the North Carolina Bar in 2016. She has a small private practice and works in the areas of estate planning and family law.
Harris-Britt, April - Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
Phone: 919.401.8090 x1001
Address: 3326 Durham Chapel Hill Blvd. Building D, Durham, NC 27707
April Harris-Britt, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Durham since 2003. She received her doctorate from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In addition to providing child, adolescent, adult, and family therapy, Dr. Harris-Britt conducts comprehensive psychological evaluations, forensic evaluations, comprehensive child custody evaluations, civil guardian ad litem evaluations, and parental competency evaluations. Specific areas of expertise include trauma and violence, adoption and attachment, medically fragile children, divorce transitions, ADHD and learning disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and multicultural issues.
Dr. Harris-Britt utilizes a systems approach to wellness that incorporates developmental, psychological, and social strengths in assessment and treatment. She is trained in many evidence-based models, including Trauma-focused CBT, Motivational Interviewing, and EMDR. Dr. Harris-Britt is often contacted by families, attorneys, and the courts to provide intensive intervention services for families engaged in high-conflict custody disputes, including coparenting and reunification therapy. She provides services as a Parent Coordinator.
Dr. Harris-Britt is licensed in the states of NC and VA. She maintains a faculty appointment at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Fielding Graduate University, where she is actively engaged in teaching and research. Some of her work has been featured on CNN, in Newsweek, on local television and radio news programs, and in the New York Times Bestseller, NurtureShock. She is currently a member of the APA Advocacy Coordinating Committee, APA Working Group to Review Scientific Literature for High Conflict Family Relationships and AFCC Task Force on Model Standards of Practice for Child Custody Evaluations.
Hopper, Marie - Attorney
Address: P.O. Box 1455, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Marie Hopper is an attorney in private practice in Pittsboro, NC. She received her BA from Earlham College (2001) and JD from UNC-Chapel Hill (2004). She is a partner with Hopper Cummings, PLLC and maintains a general practice case load with substantial work in family law, including custody, domestic violence, and divorce.
Meyer, Jaye - Attorney and Certified Mediator
Address: P.O. Box 1151, Raleigh, NC 27602
Sortisio, Cynthia - Ph.D. Licensed Psychologist
Phone: 919.493.2674 x107
Address: Cynthia Sortisio, PhD Licensed Psychologist, Counseling Services Inc.
18 W Colony Pl #280, Durham NC 27705
Cynthia Sortisio, PhD is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Durham. She received her BA from the University of Virginia (1986) and PhD from UNC-Chapel Hill (1995). She maintains a general practice in clinical psychology, focusing primarily on children and families. In addition to psychotherapy and psychological evaluations, Dr. Sortisio provides comprehensive child custody evaluations, other forensic evaluations related to custody, parenting coordination, and consultation to parents and schools. She is currently the President of the Center for Cooperative Parenting.
Stanley, Kit - Guardian ad Litem
Address: P.O. Box 9163, Chapel Hill, NC 27515
Kit is a graduate of Virginia Tech and has been a GAL since 1998 in Orange, Chatham and Durham counties. She is the Director of Family Visitation Services of Chatham County, and chairperson of the NC Supervised Visitation Network. She co-facilitates the Crossroads of Parenting program and serves on several nonprofit boards focused on meeting the needs of children and underserved populations.