A Parenting Consultant (PC) has similar functions as a Parenting Time Expeditor (which we discussed in a previous post). Parenting Consultants however, are not authorized by Minnesota Statute and are created solely on the basis of a contract. Since there is no statutory authority for appointment of a parenting consultant, you cannot be court ordered to have one assigned to your case. Parenting consultants can only be court ordered by the agreement of both parties.
Since a parenting consultant is created by contract, they essentially can be appointed for whatever purpose that they are needed for. Often time a parenting consultant is appointed with the same enumerated powers that a parenting time expeditor has but in addition they are granted the authority to make permanent schedule changes. One situation where having a parenting consultant in place to increase or decrease parenting time could be where a parent has issues with chemical dependency. A parenting consultant can assist the parties in monitoring sobriety and increase parenting time if sobriety continues, or decrease time if there is a relapse. Another example where a parenting consultant that has authority to increase time can be beneficial is with young children. Parents may agree that a limited parenting time schedule is appropriate when their child is an infant. However, a schedule for a 3 month old baby is not appropriate once the child gets older. A parenting consultant can assist parents in increasing parenting time if they do not agree.
Parenting consultants may also be given the authority to decide legal custody decisions when joint legal custodians cannot agree. This can be helpful if you are struggling with school choice for your children, or if you cannot agree on whether or not your child needs to get braces. A parenting consultant may also be of value in deciding which extra-curricular activities that children participate in, and who pays for them.
Even though the issues decided by parenting consultants could be simply brought before the court in a motion, there are many advantage of using a parenting consultant versus going through the traditional court route. Depending on the county that your case is venued in, motion hearing dates could be booked out as much as three months. Even when you do get to your hearing date, your judicial officer statutorily has 90 days before they have to issue a decision. You could be waiting more than 6 months to get your dispute resolved. Judicial officers are limited in the amount of evidence that they can consider. They can’t simply call up witnesses, teachers, or counselors and talk to them on the telephone whereas a parenting consultant can.
If you think that your case would benefit from having a parenting consultant, contact our office for a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys. We have drafted many parenting consultant contracts and can assist you in choosing what authority to grant the parenting consultant. Our attorneys also have the experience necessary to recommend the right parenting consultant for your case.
Sometimes when facing divorce, once the parties figure out custody and parenting time issues, the remaining issues seem to take care of themselves.
However, some parties have a number of complex and difficult financial issues, like large debts, a variety of assets, or business ownership interests. Still others have accumulated unique assets like original artworks, antiques, or valuable collectibles. When financial issues can’t be decided by the parties, where do they turn?
For help in deciding complex and difficult financial issues, one option is a Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE).
A FENE is held with an evaluator, someone who is a highly-skilled attorney or accountant with an extensive working knowledge of property issues addressed within Minnesota family law. These evaluators have generally worked with the courts long enough to have a very good feel for how a judge is likely to decide regarding your property issues. While your evaluator is not able to predict exactly how the judge will decide in your particular case, he or she can assist you in determining what property is marital or non-marital, give you creative options for handling various pay-outs such as spousal maintenance or the division of a 401k, and even keep you grounded when the stress of the divorce has you spending attorney’s fees to insist upon relatively worthless and easily-replaced items.
If your family law matter involves a divorce and you’re concerned about the division of assets or other financial issues, you need representation to guide you through the process.
Throughout the course of your Minnesota family law proceeding, you are likely to hear quite a few acronyms used by your family law attorney and by the Court. Below is a key for Part. 2 of common acronyms you could come across in your family law case.
ADR: Alternative Dispute Resolution. This is a general term for methods of resolving cases outside of the courtroom. ENEs, as well as mediation and arbitration, are forms of ADR. Our Minnesota family law attorneys can discuss with you which method might be best for your case.
J&D: Judgment and Decree. This is what we are trying to get to, in most cases. This is the final order of the court in your case. A Stipulated J&D is one that is agreed upon between the parties.
QDRO: Qualified Domestic Relations Order. This is an order which would come after your J&D which divides retirement assets. If one spouse is awarded some or all of a retirement asset in the other party’s name, the QDRO tells the plan administrator for the company through which the asset is held to whom and how much of the asset to transfer.
OFP: Order for Protection. This is a no contact order involving family or household members where domestic abuse has been alleged to have been committed by one party against the other party or a child on whose behalf the protective order is being sought. If you are served with an OFP, please contact one of our Minnesota family lawyers immediately to discuss your options.
ROP: Recognition of Parentage. This is a document, often signed at the hospital soon after the birth of a child born to unwed parents, in which both parties recognize that the male signing the document is the father of the child. This document says that they acknowledge the father-child relationship without the need for paternity testing. However, this document does not give the father any custody or parenting time rights. In order to establish those rights, an action must be commenced in district court in the county where the mother or the child resides. Please contact one of our attorneys to discuss how to start an action for child custody in Minnesota.
As always, if you have questions about any of the above acronyms, please call us to set up your consultation.