Resolution Through Negotiation

Family law and child custody representation in Minnesota's Twin Cities.

Welcome Help For Divorced Parents

I am attorney Janet L. Goehle, a trained parenting consultant, parenting expeditor and mediator with an office in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Custody and parenting disputes are frequently the most fiercely contested issues in a divorce. They can delay divorce settlements and also arise after a divorce has been finalized. Often, a trained, neutral third party can assist divorced parents in resolving these matters. Parents may choose to include a parenting consultant as a part of their divorce settlement, or Minnesota courts have the authority to appoint a third-party consultant.

Trained Assistance For Resolving Disputes Regarding Children

The use of parenting consultants and parenting time expeditors has become more common in divorce cases, often in the post-decree setting as an efficient and cost-effective means of resolving ongoing issues between the parties. The two roles serve similar purposes, but there are important distinctions between them:

  • A parenting consultant is a neutral third party who assists parents in divorce, paternity or legal separation with their parenting issues. A parenting consultant cannot make decisions for the parents or resolve any disputes unless otherwise empowered to do so by a court order. A parenting consultant can testify in court proceedings and provide an opinion on any disputed parenting issue. The scope of authority given to a parenting consultant is determined by the parties and the consultant as set forth in the parties’ stipulation, court order and parenting consultant contract.
  • A parenting time expeditor (PTE) fulfills a similar role as the parenting consultant; however, the parenting time expeditor generally possesses arbitration powers that allow the PTE to make binding decisions on disputed issues. The authority given to a PTE is statutory-based and requires that the PTE first attempt to resolve a parenting time dispute by facilitating negotiations between the parties. If the dispute cannot be resolved by agreement, the statute mandates that the PTE “make a decision resolving the dispute.” A PTE may be appointed to resolve disputes continuously into the future, or for a defined period, or even on a one-time issue.

A Mediation Attorney Focused On Fair Solutions

A third alternative is to enlist the services of a neutral mediator who listens to both spouses in a nonjudgmental environment and suggests alternatives and options in order to resolve disputed issues. In mediation, the parties are still represented by their own lawyers.

As a trained mediator, I help parties become more aware of each other’s concerns and establish a more cooperative environment. Other attorneys routinely call to request me to serve as a neutral mediator.

Each of these options is designed to help parents avoid lengthy and costly court procedures. Working with a parenting consultant, PTE or qualified mediator allows parents to focus on resolving critical issues and produce long-term benefits for themselves and their children.

Find Out More About These Processes

If you would like to learn more about these alternative dispute resolution (ADR)  processes from an experienced St. Paul parenting consultant attorney, call me at 651-243-6005 or use the contact form to schedule an appointment. Not sure if this is what will work for you? I offer a free initial consultation so that you can get your questions answered.