Parents typically find it difficult to communicate once they make the decision to divorce or separate. Suddenly, decisions that were once easy to make for the children become impossible, and the parents may not be able to talk to each other without arguing. The stress and anger these parents feel as their relationship dissolves often clouds their judgment and causes them to lash out at each other.
A Parenting Consultant can help you work through this stressful time. A Parenting Consultant is a court appointed neutral who works with conflicted parents to help them resolve a broad spectrum of parenting issues. In Minnesota, parents must consent to using a Parenting Consultant, and once appointed by the court, a Parenting Consultant has the authority to render legally binding decisions about parenting.
Deciding to use a Parenting Consultant is a long-term commitment and most appointments are for a year or longer. During this time, parents may seek the advice of the Parenting Consultant for any parenting disagreements that occur. As parents transition from one household into two, the availability of a third party to assist with communication and boundaries is valuable.
When the parents experience a disagreement about their children, the Parenting Consultantfirst tries to facilitate an agreement. If a facilitated agreement is not possible, the Parenting Consultantthen renders a legally binding decision that resolves the issue. A Parenting Consultant has a broad spectrum of authority to make decisions about parenting time, health care, education, religion, discipline, summer and holiday vacation schedules, extra-curricular activities and other important parenting issues. In Minnesota, a Parenting Consultant may not modify custody labels or address child support and/or spousal maintenance (alimony).
Although many parents feel anxious about a third party making such important decisions, they are at least assured that their concerns are taken into consideration by the Parenting Consultant. As compared to a judge who has limited and sporadic involvement with a family, a Parenting Consultant is better able to know and understand the family’s unique needs because the Parenting Consultant is involved with the family on an on-going basis for a significant period of time. This comprehensive involvement resolves issues in timely manner and ideally, sets the parents up for long-term separate parenting success which does not require expensive trips back to court.