Mediation is commonly used in Minnesota to resolve disputes related to parenting time, including issues regarding the adjustment of an existing parenting time schedule, changes to the primary residence of a child (or children), vacations, holidays, birthdays, summer vacation schedules, extracurricular activities and parenting time when a parent relocates to a new residence (including out-state and out of state moves by a parent). One of the primary benefits of mediation is that it provides parents an opportunity to discuss parenting time issues with the assistance of a Qualified Neutral Rule 114 Mediator, outside of the confines of a Courtroom and in a confidential manner.
Mediation of parenting time (sometimes referred to as visitation) issues is also effective even if the case has already been filed in Court (such as Hennepin, Anoka, Scott, Ramsey, Carver or Wright County). Most Judges are strong proponents of using mediation to resolve parenting time issues, especially when the parents have a demonstrated history of effective co-parenting. Some high-conflict cases may prevent the parents from using mediation; however, mediation is always a good option when both parents agree to actively participate in good faith and in an effort to openly discuss parenting time issues.
In some cases, parents who have special concerns may wish to ask the Court to appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to investigate and to make a report regarding what is in the best interests of a minor child (or children) for issues related to parenting time. These cases typically involve allegations or concerns regarding mental health issues, addictions issue, allegations of criminal conduct or other matters that require a Guardian to prepare a thorough investigation and to summarize findings in a report for the Court with “best interest” recommendations.
Attorney and Mediator Randall A. Smith is the founder and principal attorney of Lake Harriet Law Office and has practiced law since 1996. Mr. Smith earned his B.A. from Hamline University, his J.D. from Drake University and his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas.
Lake Harriet Law Office represents clients in Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Plymouth, New Hope,Minneapolis, Linden Hills, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul, Wright County, Anoka County and Scott County.