The court has established a visitation schedule for you and your ex, but he or she refuses to adhere to the schedule and wants to change it on a weekly basis. You are wondering whether you have an options or rights when it comes to scheduling.

What can you do?

The parenting time expeditor (PTE) acts as a mediator to resolve disputes between the parents with respect to time-sharing. The PTE interprets, clarifies, enforces and addresses situations that are not specifically addressed in the court order. The PTE also decides whether a parent violated a court order regarding parenting time. In such a dispute, either parent can claim that the other interfered with parenting time or failed to spend adequate time with the child. Either party has the right to request a PTE, but the court can also assign one at their discretion.

Exceptions to PTE Requests

There are a number scenarios in which the court may not obligate the parties to utilize a parenting time expeditor, including:

1.    Either parent alleges domestic violence by the other person.
2.    The court believes that one of the parents has been threatened or has been subject to domestic violence by his or her ex.
3.    The parents cannot afford to pay for the PTE.

Notwithstanding these exceptions, the court might allow or require the involvement of a PTE under certain circumstances. Your Minnesota divorce attorney can help you understand your rights and obligations.

How Much Authority Does a PTE Have?

A PTE or mediator is a neutral third party charged with attempting to work out negotiations between the parents, so that they come to an agreement. If the parties do not agree, the PTE has the authority to make decisions about how time-sharing will work. The PTE will schedule a meeting, possibly via a phone conference, and make determinations, even when one party chooses not to participate in the process.

The PTE might affect parenting time, but there are limits. He or she can interpret the original court order but not change it. As such, the PTE might award compensatory parenting time and might direct the non-compliant party to reimburse the other person for legal fees.

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Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown is a founding shareholder with the Brown Law Offices, P.A., a northwest Twin Cities divorce and family law firm. He is an honors graduate of Minnesota State University, Mankato, and the William Mitchell College of Law. Jason has been recognized as a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters. Media appearances include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, the Star Tribune, USA Today, Time Magazine, Minnesota Monthly and NBC News.