Assisting Parents In Resolving Their Disputes
Sometimes, conflict between parents is so great that they need the intervention of a qualified third party to help them make decisions and, in some cases, to make decisions for them. There are two options for this in the family court field: a parenting time expeditor and a parenting consultant.
- Parenting time expeditor (PTE). This is a court-appointed neutral who is given the authority to resolve parenting time disputes under guidelines established under Minn. Stat. §518.1751. The PTE is to work with the parties to arrive at a resolution of the dispute as a mediator. If this is unsuccessful, the PTE makes a binding decision. The powers of the PTE are limited and every decision can be challenged by a motion to the court. Everything the PTE does is confidential and cannot be shared with the court. A court order is necessary for a PTE to act.
- Parenting consultant (PC). The PC is a creation of parents and attorneys who wanted to use a neutral with greater powers than a PTE. Standards of practice have developed over time which allow a PC to make all kinds of parenting decisions (although usually not changes of custody or child support). The mediation-arbitration model is used and the decision of the PC is binding unless reversed by the court after a motion. The PC is allowed to share information with the court. Every PC appointment is done under a court order, and the parents can negotiate what specific issues the PC will have the power to decide. A court order is necessary for a PC to act.
I have extensive experience as both a PTE and a PC. If you or your attorneys are considering appointing me, I would appreciate a call with some background information to see if I am a good fit for the case. Every ADR neutral has his/her own style, and mine is not appropriate for every case. I also like to have some input on the terms of the order appointing me.