What is a Parenting Time Expeditor (PTE)
Parents who have difficulties with parenting time can use the services of a parenting time expeditor to assist them to look at the disputes and resolve them. The expeditor will make the decision if the parents are unable to reach an agreement. This process saves money and is less stressful on parents and children than a return to court. Prior to the use of expeditors, parents had to re-engage attorneys and return to court when unresolved parenting time disputes arose. Today, courts can appoint specialists to help parents resolve these disputes outside the courtroom.
Parenting Time Expeditors work with the parties to create solutions.
If the expeditor is unable to bring the parties to agreement on an issue, the expeditor is empowered by a court to make a decision in the matter. The expeditor can enforce, interpret, clarify and address circumstances not specifically addressed in an existing order. How the Parenting Time Expeditor’s role is defined may often be a product of the types of conflicts that the parents have historically encountered. If either party is dissatisfied with an expeditor’s decision, he or she can take the decision back to court.
Utilizing a Parenting Time Expeditor.
To engage a parenting time expeditor, parties must first obtain a court order appointing a particular individual as the expeditor. The court order will also apportion costs and set forth the scope of the expeditor’s engagement.
The parenting time expeditor (PTE) first meets with both parties together for a two-hour session to gather information and learn about the particular needs of their family. After that meeting, when disputes arise, parties can contact the PTE via telephone or email. The PTE will communicate with both parties and attempt to seek agreement on the issue at hand. If the parties cannot agree, the PTE will issue a decision on the matter in writing to both parties.
What kinds of questions might the court empower a Parenting Time Expeditor to resolve?
- Is there a basis to modify the parenting schedule?
- Is one parent planning on denying the other parenting time during a scheduled vacation of holiday?
- Is one parent signing the children up for too many extracurricular activities or otherwise interfering in parenting time?
- Who takes the children to those activities? Who pays?
- What if the activity cuts into parenting time?
- Does the child need certain medical care?
- Should the parents be offered a right of first refusal before someone else cares for the child?
- Should a parent be offered compensatory parenting time when time has been denied?