Minnesota allows parents to share both legal and physical custody. Legal custody is the right to make important decisions on the child’s behalf, while physical custody describes where the child lives most of the time.
If you are facing a divorce, understanding what to expect from the state’s child custody process can ease some of your concerns.
Guidelines for parenting time
Whether the parents have joint physical custody or one parent has sole physical custody, both parents have the right to parenting time as long as it is in the child’s best interest. The judge will consider:
- The relationship of the child with each parent
- The child’s age
- The child’s health, safety and well-being in each household
If one of the parents has sole physical custody, the other will receive minimum parenting time of one day a week and every other weekend (about 25%). The court can either award reasonable parenting time or set a specific schedule at the request of either parent.
Limitations and conditions
The court will restrict a noncustodial parent’s time with the child to less than 25% if the child’s physical or emotional health is at risk, the parent has a history of certain crimes and/or the parent failed to abide by the court-ordered schedule in place. Restrictions may include:
- Supervised visits
- Prohibition on overnight visits
- Completion of substance abuse treatment before the court will allow parenting time
When parents cannot agree on a fair parenting arrangement, Minnesota may assign an expeditor. This individual reviews the case and creates a custody arrangement based on the child’s best interest. The judge may order the parents to abide by the expeditor’s decision.
While Minnesota does not require parents to use a parenting plan, creating this type of document can help you resolve disagreements. With a parenting plan, you can document the complete custody schedule, decision-making responsibilities, holiday parenting time and other provisions to help the new family arrangement go smoothly.