Do You Recommend Your Parenting Consultant or PTE?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

When I created my first website, I had a page called, “Rate Your PC”.  My plan was to collect information on all Parenting Consultants in Minnesota so we could find out if there were any good ones, and keep the good ones in business while weeding out the bad ones.  At the time, my attitude about being a PC was, “Hell NO!”  I NEVER wanted to inflict that kind of damage on a family.  Period.

After working as a coach, it turned out that most of my clients came to me for help dealing with their parenting consultant and hostile co-parent.  I blogged about PCs and people would find me because of that.  After a while, I decided that I really needed to write a book because all of the questions were the same: “How do you get rid of a parenting consultant (coordinator)?” “Why won’t they do something about my ex?”  “How did I become the bad guy in all of this?”  “Can you file a complaint against a PC?”  All of these questions and more are covered in my book, “The Parenting Coordinator and Consultant Survival Guide”

As part of my research for the book, I attending the training to be a Parenting Consultant.  Don’t think for a moment that my stomach wasn’t queasy.  It was.  I attended the Parenting Time expediter training as well, even though it was facilitated by my former PTE and PC.  I think she was much more intimidated than I was.  Because the training was pretty good, I did decide to offer these services.  It’s something I struggle with all the time.  Is it the right thing to do?  If you have any feedback on the question, I hope you’ll either comment after the post, or send in a contact form through my website.  Many clients tell me they want me to offer those services because I “get it”, but if I am their coach, I cannot be their PC.  I think parents greatly benefit more from coaching than PC work.  So keep that in mind.  Anyway, having attended the training, and offering PC services, made me rethink that “Rate your PC” page.  Not because I felt hypocritical in collecting the data, and not because I have become “one of them”, but because I realized it was not giving me what I was looking for.

Being a support person to parents who deal with  high conflict co-parenting situations is not easy.  I can help you with many things, and I have succeeded in empowering people into making the system work better for them, but I cannot make the situation go away completely. If you have a co-parent who is always on the attack, they are going to stay on the attack. However, if you are empowered, their interest in you tends to decrease significantly.  The less reactive you are, the less they continue to try.  So I have had to rethink and shift gears as I learn more about the issue from the viewpoint of the parenting consultants or parenting coordinators, and what works for you and what doesn’t and have changed my approach somewhat.  I decided to stop collecting that data and had good reasons to stop collecting it.

One reason was that I did not get any good reviews.  If anyone has had a parenting consultant or parent coordinator on your case, that makes sense.  You would not expect to find anyone who knows how to manage these high conflict cases.  But are there really no good ones?  Typically, people are willing to take time reporting a negative, but rarely will report a positive.  I’d like to find out there are some good ones available, but it did not look like anyone would let me know that aspect of the role.

Another reason  I quit collecting data is because people are afraid.  They are not going to turn in that information unless they know me and trust me.  Let’s face it, those of you in high conflict cases involving a PC just do not trust anyone.  You end up wondering where the information goes and who does it go to and worry that you may not stay anonymous?  My clients do learn they can trust me, and that I am not “one of them (PCs)” so through my daily work I can learn who the good and bad PCs are.  Again, no good PCs to report, but if you had someone who actually decreased the conflict, why would you be looking for a website, blog or coach to tell that story to?  Most likely, you would just go about living life, quite happily, I might add.  I still like to hold out hope that there are some out there.

Since I no longer collect information about PCs,  I want to share with you a website where you can write a review of your parenting consultant, parenting coordinator or parenting time expediter.  It has been around for a while, but the owner of the site  is not really going through those court issues anymore, from what I understand, and so I don’t think the owner does much with the site anymore.  That makes it harder to find when searching on the internet.  You can help move it up in the searches by adding reviews. The reviews are listed as a Parenting Time Expediter directory, but most PTEs also work as PCs.

For anyone who wants to write a review of their court professional, please do so on that directory site.  I think it would be an excellent resource for parents who need to choose a PC or PTE, whether the first time appointing one, or if the old one has left the case and they need to appoint someone new.  If you have anyone to report on, please do it at:

I hope that we can raise awareness about that site so that people can come away with options for who to appoint and not to appoint.  Remember, it is important to share who the good guys are.  It’s not just about the bad guys!

UPDATE 2019: Unfortunately, is no longer operational.  The parent who ran that site no longer deals with family court because his child is grown.  If I find another or if you one of you decides to start a review site, please comment and I will update this post with the information.

One caution on review sites: If you do not understand the role of a parenting consultant (or parent coordinator, as they are called in other states), you may be creating a hellish situation for yourself or having unrealistic expectations.  No PC is a miracle worker.  We cannot change people, especially those coming to the process in bad faith.  The role is not an easy one, but it can help parents who understand the purpose and power of a parenting consultant (or coordinator).  Remember, help is available for that.  You can contact me or the good folks at High Conflict Central.

Join Me and Family Innocence on February 1st!

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Little Birdy Told Me that Susan Carpenter who wrote “The Parenting
Consultant Nightmare” will be at …

Family Innocence Flies to Burnsville on February 1:

Dedicated to
Keeping Families out of Court:  resolving
conflicts & injustices peacefully



             Saturday,  February 1, 2014

 Time:             2:30

         Morgan’s Tavern

                        14201 Nicollette Avenue

                               Burnsville, MN

Directions:    www.


Cash Bar.  
Food & Beverages provided by Morgan’s Tavern and
  MacDonald Law Firm, LLC


This month writer/mediator
Susan Carpenter reveals the backstory
about her new book

 “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare”


Family Innocence Singer/Songwriter Joshua Hare Appearing


THE DATE! ~ Family Innocence  Socials
Every 1st of the Month~ SAVE THE DATE!


For more details Call Family Innocence: 651-783-5878 or email

501 (c) (3) non- Profit     









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More Court Import to Report

Oh, my gosh, where do I start???

There are so many things happening in Minnesota Family Courts.  Somethings I can report and some I cannot report just yet, but stay tuned.

In today’s news, here is a new blog that seems very informative for people in the throws of Family Court System.  I used to tell people that I felt as though I had been thrown in prison, even though I had committed no crime, other than to get divorced.  Anyway, here’s the blog (they picked up the Michelle MacDonald unlawful detainment, too):

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Also, I know I keep repeating myself about Michelle MacDonald, mighty warrior, but she is.  There is a hearing on Friday in the civil rights case against Judge David Knutson in the Sandra Rucki case.  This is something to watch as it can have far reaching implications across the nation.  Families should not be in the court system for years and have their children swallowed up by it.  If you are not in it, don’t go there!  If you are in it, do everything you can to get out.  Now.  If you need help, I can share some strategies with you!  My contact info is above (on the header).

If you’d like to know more about the Rucki case and the Federal lawsuit against Judge Knutson, here are some videos to watch:

Last, but certainly not least, do not forget to watch Divorce Corp the movie, January 10, 2013-January 16, 2013.

Coming Out on Top

Scott Stapp has certainly had his struggles in life.  This comes through in his lyrics and his passion is always apparent.  Here is an article about Scott’s new CD coming out soon, Proof of Life.

First, enjoy his new single, Slow Suicide and scroll down for one of my favorite’s from Scott’s last CD, the Great Divide.

A Light in the Darkness

We have very few good guys or gals out there who do the right thing in this upside down world of Family Court.  When I meet one, I do try to let people know that they are one of the good guys, and they are on your side.  The one I am about to tell you about is someone I am deeply inspired by.  She is a mighty warrior and I call her my friend.  I hope she considers me a friend, as well.  We should not even be friends at all.  The truth is, she was my ex’s attorney at one time.  I despised her, and she probably thought I was a crazy hostile bitch.  That was then.  When our paths crossed again, it was because we are on the same side, trying to get families out of family court and help them stay out of court. 

Unfortunately, sometimes, you have to have your day in court, and even that is often denied to people because judges think they know better than all of the rest of us.  Judges think that all areas of family law should be considered “gray areas” and that laws and court rules need not apply to Family Court.  That is why there is little justice found there.  The system is also one that polices itself and so when you feel that your right as a parent has been violated, you have nowhere to turn to correct the situation.

It is frustrating when it seems like there is no one with integrity and no one who is fighting to change things.  What you have to understand is that those who stand come under attack.  When anyone is considering taking a stand, they witness how those fighters get attacked and cannot quite get the courage to take it on.  Many systems are this way.  Our Government, the education system, the child protection system, all kinds of systems get stuck in a preserve the system at all costs, or even in a group think situation where no one wants to buck the system or they get stuck in thinking they have all the answers and the “little people” just don’t understand.  I have written about that breifly in my book, “The Parenting Consultant Nightmare“.  I am trying to help people in this way, by writing about the madness, and also offering the High Conflict Diversion Program to get people to me, and out of Family Court.  I will also be teaching the Parents Forever program as well.  I always want to bring people away from the family court as much as possible.  I still have Post Traumatic Stress from my court proceedings when I have to go anywhere near the Government Center or the Family Justice Center. 

Michelle Macdonald is taking this a step further.  Once her eyes were opened, she started the Family Innocence Project to help families stay out of court.  Her organization offers an alternative to the court system.  You can work through every part of the process there and only need to have the court sign off on it.  Michelle and I are part of some bigger endeavors, that will be revealed sometime down the road, and I think you will be amazed, but I wanted to tell you about Michelle, taking her fight to a higher level by using her attorney skills and the law, to expose the wrongs of the Family Court System.  When I first learned that Michelle was on the same side as I was, I asked her, “Do you get attacked for it?”  She replied, “Several times a day, yes.”  That is what happens and so I want to share with you what recently happened to Michelle because she is taking legal action against a judge and I hope that those of you interested in changing the Family Court System will stand with her, as she continues to expose the bad guys in the system.  Read about Michelle’s treatment for shining light on the darkness here.

I have decided to stand with Michelle to fight the good fight, come what may.

Image courtesy of Pakorn /

A Perspective on family Courts From a Judge

Regular readers know that I have had my own personal struggles with the Family Courts.  Because of the impact that had in my life, most for the better I might add, I still look for answers.  It is a system that no one is prepared for until they are stuck, as if in quicksand.  The more you struggle to get out, the deeper you get stuck.


I am now working as a Mediator, Parenting Time Expediter, Parenting Consultant and Divorce/Life Coach because I want to spend time working for solutions and using the experience I had as a way to help others.  If it were up to me, no one would ever agree to have a Parenting Consultant or continue to do battle in the court system at all.  There would be no need to even have someone like me around.  Unfortunately, change comes very slow in any system like this.  I have seen, now that I am a small part of this system, some positive changes since I first entered as a respondent in my own divorce case.  You might be surprised to hear that things used to be even worse than they are now.  Now, people have some options and the right to fire a Parenting Consultant, but it is still with the same stigma, how will you be viewed by the court when you do that?  Certainly some solutions are not really solutions in a situation where you are judged by what you say and do.


Still, I think that many professionals in the system do think that changes need to come.  They do not agree on how to do it.  Some may think that everything is very helpful to people if they have never had to be on any side other than the professional side of the court.  The professional side is one thing, you get paid pretty well, and you can go home at the end of the day and enjoy your life.  You don’t have to take all that pain and anger you hear about all day with you when you close up shop.  The personal side, however, is wrought with pain, fear, anger, confusion and a learned distrust that will probably never go away.  You listen to these “solutions” and believe people when they tell you things like, “you want to have a parenting consultant.  They will help so much.  You won’t have to go to court anymore.  They can make quick decisions and reduce the amount of fighting.”  Well, there are a couple small details in that quote that are true, but most of it is false.  Do lawyers know they are lying to you about it?  Maybe some don’t know.  Maybe they do think it’s helpful because they have never had to be on the wrong side of it.  Maybe they think very highly of their colleagues who are parenting consultants and take for granted that because someone is a super lawyer, that makes for a super parenting consultant.  It doesn’t.


I don’t know what the answers are, although I believe that less is more and that includes the court system.  I think that if you had to go get your divorce completed and there was nothing after that, people would figure it out for themselves and most would do fine.  Some would never talk to each other again, even if they had kids and that would be fine for them.  I believe that would be hard for children, but I do not know anyone whose childhood was entirely happy and carefree and had no bad things happen, but I know that those people have grown into exceptional adults after learning how to cope with bad things.  Life happens.  It’s not all good and it’s not all bad.  It is just is what it is.  You can learn to deal with it and grow, or you can let everyone else deal with it for you and never learn how to grow as a person.  I don’t think that works for anyone through their whole life, but some people choose that.  I think it is important to choose your path for yourself.


Well, I could go on all day about what I think, but like I said, I don’t have all the answers and I do what I can to try to make things better for some people in whatever small way I can.  One way I do that is to share information.  To be informed is to be powerful!  Here is an article that I just found.  I agree with a lot of what it says.  Not everything, but it is a start to a new way of thinking about divorce.  I may have more to say about it later in another post, but for now, read this article form Bruce Peterson, a presiding judge of the Hennepin County family Court from 2006-2008, “A Spiritual Perspective on Family Courts.”  It is long, but worth the read.