Parenting Services: Roles and Responsibilities

Parenting Partners (commonly referred to as co-parents) are parents who share children but are not involved in an intimate relationship with each other. They may be divorced, separated or never-married. Ideally the parenting partnership is effective, cooperative and child-focused. When it is not, children get caught in the middle of parental conflict. Parenting Partners who struggle to find common ground often deal with poor communication, inflexibility, non-compliance with agreements, “win-lose” thinking, and high levels of conflict. This environment makes it extremely difficult to parent effectively. Unfortunately, law enforcement and the Courts do not offer easily accessible, cost-effective, or timely solutions.

A professional parenting specialist can help. Parenting disputes are not easily solved from the outside; ultimately, the work must be done by the parents. A parenting specialist, guides you and your parenting partner as you navigate your way to success. Together you develop workable agreements with clear expectations, behavioral guidelines and accountability.

The different roles and responsibilities of Parenting Specialists can be confusing.  The following descriptions provide a general overview:

MN PARENTING TIME EXPEDITOR (PTE):  A PTE resolves parenting time disputes without expensive and adversarial legal processes. Use of a PTE is court ordered. PTEs may be appointed by the court or selected by mutual agreement of the parents and formalized in a court order. PTEs have authority to enforce, interpret, and clarify existing parenting time court orders. They may also address parenting time issues and circumstances which are not specifically identified in an existing court order. A PTE is typically contracted for an ongoing period of time, often for a year or more. During this time, either parent may submit a parenting time dispute to the PTE for resolution. After conferring with both parents (and any other persons who may contribute to the solution) the PTE either facilitates an agreement or renders a legally binding parenting time decision. The process is confidential (protected by MN Rule 114), efficient, timely, cost effective, and intended to minimize conflict and promote fairness.

MN PARENTING CONSULTANT (PC): A PC resolves a broad spectrum of parenting disputes without expensive and adversarial legal processes. Use of a PC is decided by mutual agreement of the parents and formalized in a court order. PCs have authority over many types of parenting disputes including but not limited to: parenting time, holiday schedules, communication, school placement, education, activities, medical protocols, transfers, childcare, and discipline. PCs have authority to enforce, interpret, and clarify existing court orders and Parenting Plans. They may also address parenting issues and circumstances which are not specifically identified in an existing court order or Parenting Plan. A PC is typically contracted for an ongoing period of time, often for a year or more. During this time, either parent may submit a disputed parenting issue to the PC for resolution. The PC process is a combination of coaching, facilitation and decision making. After coaching and conferring with both parents (and any other persons who may contribute to the solution), the PC either facilitates an agreement or renders a legally binding parenting decision. The process is efficient, timely, cost-effective, and intended to minimize conflict, promote fairness, and improve parenting relationships; is not protected by MN Rule 114.

MN GUARDIAN AD LITEM (GAL): The Minnesota Guardian Ad Litem Program provides advocates who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court.  Guardians Ad Litem are professionals who are paid staff people or volunteers and are appointed by the Juvenile or Family Court to represent a maltreated child’s best interests in court proceedings.

PARENTING COACH: A Parenting Coach provides individual guidance and assistance to a parent who wishes to more positively contribute to the Parenting Partnership and/or more effectively manage their response to negative parenting behaviors. Assistance may focus on: improving communication, making successful transitions, creating reasonable boundaries, addressing a sensitive topic and managing the impact of a new spouse.

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