A Parenting Consultant is appointed by a Stipulated Court Order based on the agreement of the parties – the PC cannot be court appointed. Once the parties choose to use a PC, he/she has the authority to make binding decisions regarding parenting time and custody disagreements. The scope of authority of the PC is outlined in the Court Order as defined and agreed to by the parties; it may be very broad or very narrow. Typically, the parties are required to try and work out the issue on their own. If they are unsuccessful, parties submit issues to be addressed in writing and the PC will attempt to help facilitate an agreement between the parties. If that is not successful, the PC will consider information from both parties, as well as outside information where necessary to help make their decision. The PC will then issue a binding, written decision resolving the issue which has the full force and effect of a court order. PC decisions can be challenged in court if done so within the timing and manner set forth in the Order Appointing the PC. Fees are typically shared equally between the parties, although the PC has the authority to allocate fees to one party where the situation merits. Most often a retainer is required by the PC that must remain funded throughout the process. The typical length of a PC appointment is 2 years, though parties may negotiate otherwise. Both Dan and Traci are trained Parenting Consultants.