23rd Mar 2017
One of the most common issues that is raised in dissolution or child custody matters is that of parenting time. Typically, most dissolution orders involving minor children, as well as most child custody orders contain a provision related to the amount of parenting time that is awarded to each parent. Parenting time may be established in a variety of forms, including: a percentage of overnight visits; a set weekly schedule, or simply language which calls for “reasonable” parenting time. As children grow older and the schedules of parents change, it often becomes necessary to modify previously established parenting time orders. In order to officially modify parenting time, the parents must either agree to an official modification, or a party must bring a motion to modify parenting time. Requests to modify parenting time are governed in large part by Minnesota Statute § 518.175. Generally speaking, if the requested modification does not alter the child’s primary residence and does not restrict another parent’s parenting time with the minor child, courts will evaluate the requested modification pursuant to the “best interests of the child” standard.
The best interests of the child standard is articulated within Minnesota Statute § 518.17, subd. 1. Minnesota Statute § 518.17, subd. 1 includes twelve separate factors related to the best interests of the child, as well as factors related to the disposition of the parents. By way of example, some of these factors include: physical, emotional, cultural, and other needs of the child; reasonable preference of the child; history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care; willingness and ability of each parent to provide continuing care, etc. After examining these factors, courts will typically grant a proposed modification of parenting time if the court believes that the modification would further the best interests of the child.
It should be noted that each child custody or parenting time situation is unique, and there is not a single legal analysis that is applicable to every request. To this end, Anderson Larson Saunders Klaassen & Dahlager, p.l.l.p. is experienced and capable of assisting parents in their efforts to modify parenting time.