Under Minnesota law, the parties, or the court, can seek the appointment of a parenting time expeditor as part of a divorce or paternity proceeding. Parenting time expeditors can save the parties time and money by keeping parenting time disputes out of the court system entirely. No attorney to pay. No motion filing fee to pay. No two-month waiting period to speak with a judge.
A parenting time expeditor works to resolve parenting time disputes by interpreting and enforcing an existing court order. Some parties never use the expeditor, even if appointed, because no conflicts arise. Others use them once. Still others…quite regularly.
Expeditors are supposed to first mediate disputes between parents. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own, the expeditor issues a written decision.
Once a dispute is brought to the attention of the expeditor, they expeditor will meet with the parties in a relatively short period of time – often the same day, by telephone.
If a decision is required of the expeditor, it must be consistent with the existing order. In other words, an expeditor does not have the authority to create new schedules or conditions of visitation.
The decision can include an award of compensatory parenting time, along with an award of attorney’s fees and costs. The opinion must be written and mailed to each party, and is subject to review by the district court if either party requests a hearing. Usually the expeditor’s decision is subject to “appeal” to the district court for a period of 14 days. Thereafter, the right to have the matter addressed by the court is extinguished.
Either party can move the court to remove the parenting time expeditor, but must show “good cause” for doing so. Such a feat can be rather difficult, but tempting to those who are not happy with the decisions of the expeditor.