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Custody & Parenting Time Amendments

October 22, 2014 at 10:44 AM

Roles within families continue to change, and the amendments to child custody and parenting time statutes that took place on August 1, 2014 may be a move to reflect such changes. Not only have the number of fathers staying home with children doubled, but 40% of households with minor children have a woman as the primary breadwinner. Additionally, the legalization of same-sex marriage has changed the way we understand traditional parenting roles.

Family law in Minnesota is highly statutory, meaning that the laws derive from statutes written by the legislature. On August 1, 2014, amendments to the statutes concerning custody and parenting time were enacted. In general, custody can be joint, where both parents share custody; or sole, where one parent is awarded custody. Rather than assuming that parents of minor children would not share joint custody, the amendment reflects a change that does not favor or disfavor joint custody in general (except in cases where domestic abuse is present).  So, neither sole or joint custody is favored in Minnesota – Minnesota is now “neutral” in determining custody designations. In addition, the amended statute indicates that when parties disagree over specific custody labels, that disagreement alone is not enough to prevent an award of joint custody.

In determining custody matters, the court will now need to analyze the facts of each case and make findings as to whether sole or joint custody is in the best interests of the child(ren). With the previous statute (prior to August 1, 2014), findings would only need to be made when joint custody was awarded when one or both parties did not agree to such an arrangement.  

These changes certainly give courts in Minnesota the opportunity to be friendlier to different arrangements.  A more detailed discussion regarding the changes to modification of custody and parenting time will be coming soon.


Statistics curtesy of: http://mnbenchbar.com/2014/10/custody-and-parenting-time-minnesota-amendments-codify-compromises/



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