Often families enter into the Family Court system without any idea of what happens next. Attorneys are great advocates and can guide you through the legal process. But what happens afterward? "What are all these different professionals that are available for my family's unique problems and how do I know which one to use? I want to be treated fairly and compassionately, and I want what's in the best interest of my children". These are questions that I can help you resolve and get your family back on the road to peace and effectiveness. Here are the services that I provide with a brief description. If you have more questions, please call or e-mail me at the address below.
Marriage & Family Therapist: This person is licensed under Minnesota State law and under the Board of Marriage & Family Therapists. They are required to have adequate training and supervision and on-going education in their specialty of choice. MFT's focus on systemic theories; in other words, the family functions as a system and every thing the members do affect everyone else (whether they are in the room or not). No one functions in isolation or in a bubble. Even families that are in bi-nuclear homes have to function in an effective manner.
Early Neutral Evaluator: ( Social and Financial) A judge may encourage a couple that has a dispute over custody of their child(ren) to participate in an SENE. The court has a list of qualified males and females that team up to give the couple a neutral opinion about what the court would likely decide in their case and then use that information to mediate a case to resolution. Attorneys usually participate and assist in helping the parent navigate legal issues. This process is shorter and far less costly than a full Custody Evaluation.
Custody Evaluator: The court may order a full Custody Evaluation in cases where the SENE process has not brought a resolution for custody or where there are more serious issues of chemical or mental health questions. Often psychological evaluations are performed and/or parenting assessments are given. A great deal of private information is obtained and forensic inquiry is used to determine the best interest of the child(ren). The issues addressed are guided by Minnesota State Statute 518 Best Interest of Children.
Mediator: Persons who are Minnesota Mediators have a Supreme Court qualification Rule 114 to be neutrals in order to facilitate a mediation of agreement between a couple or parents. These Mediators are trained and have to participate in regular updated education to keep their qualifications. Individuals who practice SENE and FENE must be qualified under Rule 114 also.
Parenting Consultant: Parents can stipulate or agree to have the court sign off on a Parenting Consultant. The PC has broad powers much like the judiciary to make changes in parenting time schedules, holiday schedules, various ongoing parental disputes, and monitor the children's overall functioning within the dual household system. The limitation to their duties are they cannot change the court ordered label of custody nor address significant financial issues. Parents are bound to this agreement until the court releases the PC or the PC requests release.
Reunification Therapist: Sometimes for a miriad of reasons, parents become estranged from their child or children. A Reunification therapist or Specialist can facilitate a child directed treatment plan to get the parent and the child interacting and resolving some of their distancing issues.
Parenting Time Expeditor: The Court can order a PTE to help the parents adhere to a court ordered parenting time schedule. The PTE clears up any gray areas in the Judgment and Decree, and help facilitate a smoother transition for the exchange of children between the parents. The PTE has less duties and a more narrow function than a Parenting Consultant.
Pamela J. Quinn, MA, LMFT
6381 Osgood Avenue North
Stillwater, Minnesota 55082
651-430-1040/ fax 651-430-1182