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Minnesota Parenting schedules, parenting time, enforcement, rights of first refusal

Parenting Consultants and Parenting Time Expeditors
minnesota parenting time issues, orders, enforcement, rights of first refusal

    For Legal Assistance Call
(612) 240-8005

Parenting time is the term of art used in Minnesota for custody or visitation schedules.  It is addressed specifically under Minnesota Statutes Sex. 518.175   

Parenting Time Orders

First, in all proceedings for dissolution or legal separation, and thereafter, the court shall, upon the request of either parent, grant such parenting time on behalf of the child and a parent as will enable the child and the parent to maintain a child to parent relationship that will be in the best interests of the child.

Determining Best Interests of a Child

The term Best Interests of the Child encompasses many things and generally means an all inclusive look at the circumstances surrounding any proposed parenting time.

Only if a court finds, after a hearing, that parenting time with a parent is likely to endanger the child's physical or emotional health or impair the child's emotional development, the court shall
restrict parenting time with that parent as to time, place, duration, or supervision and may deny parenting time entirely, as the circumstances warrant.

The court shall consider the age of the child and the child's relationship with the parent prior to the commencement of the proceeding. 

Parenting Time Separate from Child Support

Minnesota Statutes clearly state that a parent's failure to pay support because of the parent's inability to do so shall not be sufficient cause for denial of parenting time.

Enforcement of Parenting Time Order by Police

Enforcing a parenting time order may often be difficult.  Law enforcement often will treat denials of parenting time as civil matters. However, a Court order can include language that specifically requires law enforcement to enforce a parenting time order. This is specified under Minnesota Statutes 518.175.  It states as follows:

"The court may provide that a law enforcement officer or other appropriate person will accompany a party seeking to enforce or comply with parenting time."

Specific Schedules Preferred.

Minnesota's Statutes also prefer specific schedules over general provisions such as "reasonable and liberal visitation."  Such vague orders are fodder for dispute and impossible to enforce.   As a result, upon request of either party, to the extent practicable an order for parenting time must include a specific schedule for parenting time, including the frequency and duration of visitation
and visitation during holidays and vacations, unless parenting time is restricted, denied, or reserved.

Rebuttable Presumption 25% Parenting Time

State statutes also indicate that in the absence of other evidence, there is a rebuttable presumption that a parent is entitled
to receive at least 25 percent of the parenting time for the child. For purposes of determining parenting time,  the percentage of parenting time may be determined by calculating the number of overnights that a child spends with a parent or by using a method other than overnights if the parent has significant time periods on separate days when the child is in the arent's physical custody but
does not stay overnight.

Informing Children of Rights and Court Orders.

Upon the request of either parent, the court may inform any child of the parties, if eight years of age or older, or otherwise of an age of suitable comprehension, of the rights of the child and each parent under the order or decree or any substantial amendment thereof. The parent with whom the child resides shall present the child for
parenting time with the other parent, at such times as the court directs.

Modifications to parenting plans.

A parenting schedule may be modified if the Court finds that the modification would serve the best interests of the child so long as the modification does not change the child's primary residence.

Modifications Based on Failure to Exercise Parenting Time.

Minnesota statutes also allow a court to specifically modify a parenting schedule if the parent has chronically and unreasonably failed to comply with court-ordered parenting time.

Remedies for Denial of Parenting Time.

Minnesota statutes also spell out a myriad of remedies when parenting time is denied or subject to unreasonable interference. 

Specifically, the court may provide for one or more of the following remedies for denial of or interference with court-ordered parenting time:

  1. If the court finds that a person has been deprived of court-ordered parenting time, the court shall order the parent who has interfered to allow compensatory parenting time to the other parent or the court shall make specific findings as to why a request for compensatory parenting  time is denied. If compensatory parenting time is awarded, additional parenting time must be:
    • at least of the same type and duration as the deprived parenting time and, at the discretion
      of the court, may be in excess of or of a different type than the deprived parenting time;
    • taken within one year after the deprived parenting time; and
    • at a time acceptable to the parent deprived of parenting time.
  2. If the court finds that a party has wrongfully failed to comply with a parenting time order or a binding agreement or decision under section 518.1751, the court may:
    • impose a civil penalty of up to $500 on the party;
    • require the party to post a bond with the court for a specified period of time to secure the party's compliance;
    • award reasonable attorney's fees and costs;
    • require the party who violated the parenting time order or binding agreement or decision
      of the parenting time expeditor to reimburse the other party for costs incurred as a result of the
      violation of the order or agreement or decision; or
    • award any other remedy that the court finds to be in the best interests of the children
    A civil penalty imposed under this paragraph must be deposited in the county general fund and must be used to fund the costs of a parenting time expeditor program in a county with this
    program. In other counties, the civil penalty must be deposited in the state general fund.
  3. If the court finds that a party has been denied parenting time and has incurred expenses in
    connection with the denied parenting time, the court may require the party who denied parenting
    time to post a bond in favor of the other party in the amount of prepaid expenses associated with
    upcoming planned parenting time.
  4. Proof of an unwarranted denial of or interference with duly established parenting time
    may constitute contempt of court and may be sufficient cause for reversal of custody.
Right of First Refusal

Under Minnesota Statutes the court may also allow additional
parenting time to a parent to provide child care while the other parent is working if this arrangement is reasonable and in the best interests of the child.  In addition, the court shall consider:

  1. the ability of the parents to cooperate;
  2. methods for resolving disputes regarding the care of the child, and the parents' willingness to use those methods; and
  3. whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred between the parties.

For a Consultation call (612) 240-8005.



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