Family Mediation & Benefits

Family mediation is a confidential process used by members of a family who need help in solving important issues that often revolve around separation or divorce and parenting. A mediator meets privately with family members and helps them settle their issues in ways upon which they both can agree. Participants remain in control of what is happening, making all the decisions.

The mediator does not make judgments, determine facts, nor decide outcomes. Rather, the mediator provides a setting in which participants can identify options and find solutions best suited to their situation. No decision is made unless and until it is acceptable to all participants. Once agreement is reached, the mediator can create a document to provide to an attorney for filing with the court.


To learn about the differences between Parenting Consulting and Parenting Time Expediting, see chart below.


Parenting Time Expeditor (PTE)Parenting Consultant (PC)
A PTE is Statutory Based. See Minn. Stat. § 518.1751. A PC is NOT Statutory Based. Appointment is pursuant to Rule 114.02(a)(10).
The Court may appoint a PTE over the objection of the parties, with some exceptions including claims of domestic abuse or inability to pay the PTE fees. The Court may NOT order that a PC be used unless both parties agree.
A PTE’s scope of authority may not exceed the authority defined by the statute. A PTE may enforce, interpret, and clarify parenting time orders and may address parenting time issues related to the schedule and access which are not specifically identified in a parenting time order. A PTE may develop a specific schedule when the order grants “reasonable parenting time.” A PC’s scope of authority is determined by the parties and the PC according to a stipulation and court order, and according to the PC contract. A PC may address and make decisions about any parenting time issue as well as any other parenting issue. If it is defined in the court order or contract, a PC may consider financial issues related to the children.
Decisions are binding pursuant to the statute unless vacated or modified by the Court. See Minn. Stat. § 518.1751, Subd. 3(d). Whether the decisions are binding is determined by the stipulation and order, or by the PC contract. Generally, the decision is binding with the right to a review by the Court.
The PTE must be named in the court order pursuant to the statute. See Minn. Stat. § 518.1751, Subd. 2(a). It is often best, but not necessary, to name the PC in the court order.
A PTE may be appointed to resolve limited or even one‐time disputes, or may be appointed on an ongoing basis to resolve parenting time issues as they arise. A PC is generally ordered on an ongoing basis to address issues as they arise, until the minor children are emancipated. A PC contract with an individual PC will likely be for a limited period of time, requiring new contracts to be signed.
A PTE may not be subpoenaed or called as a witness in court proceedings.    A PC may be subpoenaed or called as a witness in a court proceeding unless the court order or contract provides otherwise.