Parenting Time Lawyer in Minneapolis, MN
Dealing with family details throughout a divorce can be one of the process’s biggest challenges. Discussing child custody and co-parenting details is precisely what drives many divorcing couples to the higher end of the stress scale, and even with a divorce attorney on hand, navigating the process can be tricky. This is precisely why some court systems have officially divided child custody into three distinct categories: legal custody, which involves decision-making; physical custody, which is where the child resides; and parenting time, which is the time the child spends with each of their parents.
What is Parenting Time?
Parenting time is what was formerly known as “visitation” and is in direct reference to time the child actually spends with each parent or guardian. Parenting time is not determined by legal or physical custody. It includes vacations and holidays schedules, as well as a weekly schedule. The weekly parenting time schedule is typically superseded by the vacations and holidays schedules. Parenting time may be a simple as every other weekend and one overnight per week, or equal parenting time, such as a week on/week off schedule, or schedules known as 3-2-2-3 or 5-2-2-5.
How Is Parenting Time Decided in Minnesota?
If the parties do not agree on a parenting time schedule, the Court must decide based on the best interests of the child. This prevents the child from being placed in a situation where they are placed in the middle of what the parents (or guardians) are seeking. The amount of parenting time each parent or guardian receives relies on a variety of factors, known as the “Best Interest Factors” and no two factors or cases are exactly alike.
There are 12 Best Interests Factors and may be found in Minn. Stat. §518.17. The factors include, but are not limited to, child development, special needs, reasonable preferences of the child, domestic abuse, health issues, parental participation, home, school and community, and so on. This list is by no means exhaustive. Not one factors outweighs another factor – they must each be granted the same consideration. There are nine (9) clauses that govern the application of the Best Interest Factors, which includes a consideration “that is it in the best interests of the child to promote the child’s healthy growth and development through safe, stable, nurturing relationships between a child and both parents.” Minn. Stat. §518.17, Subd. 1. (b) (2).
It is always in the best interests of the child for their parents to decide parenting time, as a Judge does not know that child as well as the parents and a child benefits from their parents cooperating with each other.
Know When to Contact an Attorney for Parenting Time
At Segal Duffek Moen we know that no two parenting time or custody cases are alike, and navigating the process can be emotionally and mentally draining. It’s always a good idea to work with a family law attorney from the very beginning to ensure that your arrangement is fair to the child and adheres to the law in your area. Regardless of whether your separation promises to be a smooth one or you’re dealing with a rough divorce from the beginning, it’s always wise to have legal representation there to guide you. Contact us today to learn how our attorneys can help you.