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Divorce is never easy, but children complicate matters. When kids are involved, dissolution becomes more than a financial arrangement; divorcing parents must also consider such emotional issues as custody and visitation. These matters are not always permanently resolved through divorce; former spouses may continue to argue about parenting time and other contentious matters. In Minnesota, parenting consultants offer a valuable opportunity to resolve such issues without returning to court.

Parenting Consultant Defined

The role of parenting consultant is not recognized by state statute, but rather, in Minnesota Court Rule 114.02(a)(10). According to this rule, “parties may by agreement create an ADR [alternative dispute resolution] process.”

Parenting consultants often play a key role in post-decree issues. In such matters, their chief goal is to prevent already divorced spouses from returning to court, especially if multiple conflicts crop up over time.

In Minnesota, parenting consultants essentially serve in lieu of a judge. They can make binding decisions in a wide range of parenting disputes. Additionally, they serve as an excellent resource for parents who, due to changing work or life circumstances, require adjustments to previously agreed-upon parenting time arrangements.

When Should Parenting Issues Be Resolved in Court?

While parenting consultants provide a valuable service for many Minnesota families, others prefer a more traditional court-based approach. In contentious post-divorce relationships, for example, parents may be incapable of working together to develop a viable ADR plan. In such cases, extensive attorney support may be required more than can be accommodated under a parenting consultant arrangement.

The Role of the Attorney

While attorneys are not present for appearances before parenting consultants, they can still play a critical role in the post-decree process. As in divorce mediation, parents are permitted to retain outside counsel from family law attorneys, who can provide valuable recommendations for drafting parenting consultant agreements.

When you work with the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd., you will receive support through every stage of the divorce process. Get in touch today to learn more about child custody and visitation in Minnesota.