Custody & Parenting Time

In Minnesota, there is a presumption that it is in the best interest of a child to spend time with both of their parents. In addition, there is a presumption that parents will provide for the financial support of their children. A good attorney with experience in child support and parenting time issues, like R. Leigh Frost, can advise you and help you navigate the process of establishing your parental rights in Minnesota.

Father and Son Reading Together

What is Custody?

There are two (2) types of custody in Minnesota: 1) legal and 2) physical custody. Legal custody grants the right to participate in major decisions, such as education, medical and religious decisions. Physical custody establishes the residence of the child. Both types of custody can have a designation of “joint” or “sole.” Neither legal custody nor physical custody has an impact on parenting time.

What is Parenting Time?

In Minnesota law, child visitation is referred to as “Parenting Time.” There is preference for establishing a parenting time schedule that provides for consistency, predictability and stability for a child with very little disruption to the child’s routine, if possible.

How do I Establish Custody and Parenting Time?

The first step toward securing a parenting time order depends on whether the parents are already engaged in a family law case, such as divorce. If the parents are not married or already engaged in a family law matter, the process starts with a motion for custody and parenting time. If the parties are married and already engaged in a family law matter, the issues of custody and parenting time will be a part of that process. Unmarried fathers who are filing these motions may first have to undergo a paternity test, unless he has signed a Recognition of Parentage.

What is a Parenting Time Schedule? A typical parenting time schedule will include: • Weeknights • Weekends or alternating weekends • Vacations • Holidays • School breaks, such as MEA or Spring break It is always best for parents to determine the parenting time schedule together as they know what is best for their child. However, if the parties cannot or will not work together to establish a parenting time schedule, a judge will be tasked with determining a suitable parenting time schedule for the child.

Can a Parent Be Denied Parenting Time?

In some cases, a family court may deny a parent the right to parenting time. The reasons for this include:
• The parent is no longer in contact, or has had very little, inconsistent and infrequent contact with the child
• The parent has a history of chemical dependency and substance abuse
• The parent has not established or exercised his or her parenting time rights for a significant period of time
• The court has found evidence of domestic violence, directed at the child, a sibling, or the child’s other parent

• The parent’s rights have been terminated

Can Parenting Time Be Modified?

If a parent believes that the existing parenting time schedule is no longer suitable for their child, or they have experienced an interruption or disruption to their court-ordered parenting time schedule, they can request modification of, or assistance with, parenting time by filing a motion for modification of parenting time or a motion for parenting time assistance. It is always advisable to seek the assistance of an attorney with experience in Custody and Parenting Time matters.

R. Leigh Frost Law

Custody and parenting time are matters that can be significantly affected by the level of cooperation between the parties involved. If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on parenting time, R. Leigh Frost Law can help. Our team will work diligently on your behalf to ensure that your custody and parenting time rights allow you to continue to be a parent to your child, regardless of what has happened in your relationship with the other parent.