When parenting disputes arise, parties may turn to Parenting-Time Expeditors (PTEs) or Parenting Consultants (PCs) for resolution. At first glance, PTEs and PCs seem very similar; however, the differences between them are actually substantial.
Whereas a PTE can be appointed by the Court, regardless of the wishes of parties, a PC can only be appointed if both parents agree to do so. In addition, although a PTE cannot be subpoenaed or called as a witness in court, a PC can be subpoenaed to testify unless the appointing order or contract states otherwise.
As I discussed in a prior post, the role of PTEs is limited to enforcing, interpreting, and clarifying parenting-time orders and addressing scheduling and access issues which are not specifically identified in the order. The power of PCs, in contrast, can be quite broad. With a few exceptions, the scope of the PCs authority is whatever you and your spouse agree to and set forth in the contract you sign with the PC. Some parents prefer to keep the PCs powers relatively narrow, while others would rather grant the PC expansive authority to address things such as financial disputes, school-choice, and modification of parenting time.
A major benefit of using a PC is that disagreements can be resolved much more quickly and cheaply than if the parties needed to go to court to address the issues. Either parent can bring an issue of concern to the PC for resolution. The PC will then talk to both parties, and often others with information about the issue, and can issue a decision within days. This can be especially valuable when disputes need to be settled quickly. These decisions are then binding, although most agreements do allow for review by the court if a parent brings a motion to do. The costs of the PC are generally split between the parties, although the PC typically has the power to make one parent pay the entire fee if the PC believes that the parent is abusing the process.
To discuss whether a Parenting Consultant might be beneficial, call Kruse Family Law at 612.231.9865, or email firstname.lastname@example.org