Court Ordered Parenting Consultants



A new trend in Minnesota is that even when parents do not stipulate (agree) to appoint a Parenting Consultant, some judges are ordering them anyway.  From the beginning, I have forewarned people against the use of a parenting consultant or parent coordinator.  Full disclosure, I have taken the parenting consultant training, and I offer parenting consultant services.  You could call me the reluctant parenting consultant because I find the practice to be a years long invitation to the court system and the loss of the legal custody of your children.

The “because it’s there” syndrome.  Relying on Family Court to solve your problem, or to try to fix the other person, is a no win situation.  Prior to the addition of these court authorities, parents did sometimes still fight.  No one was telling parents that they had to co-parent.  They worked out the relationship on their own terms and either got along or they didn’t.  If they didn’t, they did the smart thing and minimized the amount of their interactions.  They also did not wait for a court order to do what needed to be done for their children.  They didn’t pay large amounts of money to defer important decisions about their children to someone else.  Decisions were made, often in the same way they were during the marriage.  The other parent sometimes pitched a hissy fit about it, but then whatever had happened became a thing of the past and the parents put it behind them, knowing that while they didn’t agree with the decision, there was nothing they could do about it.

Now that there are “decision makers” available for anyone who wants to complain about a hostile co-parent, children no longer have their needs met.  The pc is used as a tool against the other parent, or weeks and months go by while parents wait for a decision.  This pretty much leaves the children on their own.

I have to admit that there are times decisions need to be made, but this system does not seem to work.  It could work, if the parents had a way to hold these court authorities accountable for their actions, and if the legal community did not allow these appointees to decide everything about what these families of divorce are going to do, day in and day out.  If the decisions were left to only major decisions and the parents were not dictated to as to how their relationship was going to work going forward.  When a parent knows that the other parent is unreliable and cannot be trusted, how are they to believe that has changed now that a parenting consultant is on the case?  A parenting consultant (parent coordinator) can make a decision, but they can never transform either parent into someone with integrity and honesty.  The parents still are who they are, and worse yet, they still are the product of the relationship that they both experienced.  THAT cannot be changed.

So I am passing along a new trend I am seeing.  Even though the court is not supposed to appoint a parenting consultant over the objections of one party, it is starting to happen.  I wanted to let you know that you should still say “No” to the recommendation of adding a parenting consultant to your case, but now know that one may end up appointed anyway.  I will continue to look into this and see what, if anything, can be done when this happens.

The statute on parenting time expediters

PTEs are not the same as PCs.

The statute on Guardian ad Litems.

Also different from a PC.

The statute on Parenting Time.

Maybe this section explains why judges appoint a PC over the objections of one party?

“If a parent makes specific allegations that parenting time by the other
parent places the parent or child in danger of harm, the court shall
hold a hearing at the earliest possible time to determine the need to
modify the order granting parenting time. Consistent with subdivision
1a, the court may require a third party, including the local social
services agency, to supervise the parenting time or may restrict a
parent’s parenting time if necessary to protect the other parent or
child from harm. If there is an existing order for protection governing
the parties, the court shall consider the use of an independent, neutral
exchange location for parenting time.”

I do not know what is behind the sudden trend, but I will keep seeking more information about this.

Image courtesy of nirots / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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About lifesdoorsmediation

I am a mediator, Life and Divorce Coach and an Instructor of a High Conflict Divorce Program.

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