Motions to modify custody or parenting time can take months for the court to hear.  The court’s calendar, attorneys’ availability, and the usual requirement that the parties take part in alternative dispute resolution(ADR) all contribute to the length of time before the judge can make a decision.

But what if you need a decision right now?

Sometimes, an emergency situation involving an issue such as child custody will arise. For example, a child is supposed to be attending school A, however, a parent finds out that the other parent enrolled the child in school B and school starts in less than a month.

An attorney can file what is called an “Emergency Motion with the Court” to address the situation, which has little to no effect on the child. However, sometimes the emergency situation would be best addressed in a mediation/early neutral evaluation type setting.  This is where the Ready Response Program comes into play.

Hennepin County’s Ready Response Program can be utilized via the judge’s referral of the parties to the program.  The judge will order the parties to participate in the Ready Response Program and the parties can attempt to mediate the issue on an expedited basis.

The evaluators will hear each person’s side of the issue and make a determination based on the facts and the law about what they think the judge will order regarding the issue.  The parties can then use this information to attempt to mediate a settlement.  If they cannot reach an agreement, then the judge will make a decision on the issue at a hearing shortly after the mediation.

The Ready Response Program is an excellent program to deal with emergency-type situations where a decision regarding the debated issue is needed immediately.