“A passion for social justice and standing up for those who need a voice is what led me to pursue a career as a public interest attorney.”
Patti Tutone, JD
Director of Custody Advocacy
Patti Tutone has been a staff attorney at Council for Children’s Rights since 2016, becoming Director of Custody Advocacy in 2019. Before joining the Council, Patti was an attorney at Legal Aid of North Carolina from 2006-2015, representing myriad clients including those who were victims of domestic violence, facing eviction or loss of Section 8 vouchers, or denied unemployment benefits. She was recently awarded Women Lawyers of Charlotte’s 2019 Woman of the Year. Born in Staten Island, NY, Patti has called Charlotte home since 1992. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. with Distinction in journalism and mass communication and a J.D. with Honors. She values her close relationships with family and enjoys a tight-knit group of friends. She stays busy with Jazzercise and her supper club, book clubs, game night crew, and trivia group.
The Custody Advocacy Program (CAP) at Council for Children’s Rights, alongside the other legal advocacy teams, continues to work tirelessly to ensure that children’s voices remain heard during the COVID-19 pandemic. In providing best interest representation to children caught in the middle of high-conflict custody litigation, we must serve the needs of the entire family. Here are just some of the ways our advocates are continuing to do so:
- Communicating with parties in each of our cases to ensure custody orders are being followed, while maintaining the health and safety of our clients and their families.
- Sharing with parties this report jointly released by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers and the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts providing co-parenting guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic: https://www.afccnet.org/Portals/0/COVID19Guidelinesfordivorcedparents.FINAL.pdf?ver=2020-03-17-202849-133
- Ensuring families are aware of the educational resources available to their children during this time of virtual schooling.
- Developing creative solutions for any new challenges posed by stay at home orders and CDC guidelines.
- Working together with therapists and other medical professionals to ensure that our child-clients continue to receive the healthcare services they so desperately need.
- Providing representation in emergency proceedings.
- Encouraging and facilitating settlements.
- Conducting thorough investigations by requesting and reviewing all records electronically, hosting teleconferences and videoconferences with parties, and interviewing collateral witnesses.
In the interest of health and safety, all CFCR staff is working remotely, and CAP staff attorneys and volunteers are not currently conducting in-person home and school visits or party conferences. However, this has not slowed us down – it has simply pushed us to find creative ways to move our investigations forward.
Family law is an arena that involves heightened emotions, even during stable times. In this time of instability, the reassurances and guidance our advocates provide families is invaluable. We would not be able to continue to do so without your support, and we thank you.