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Push for Equal Parenting Continues in Minnesota

Under Minnesota divorce law, there is a presumption that parents in child custody arrangements will each get a minimum of 25 percent of the time with their child. In most cases, the parents will work out the other 50 percent of the time share on their own, but if they are unable to negotiate their own custody arrangement a judge will set one for them.

However, studies have shown that in Minnesota cases, fathers only tend to get an average of 36 percent of the parenting time, which has led some to advocate for additional regulations to ensure a more equal time share.

Proposed legislation on the table

State representative Peggy Scott (R-Andover) is one of a few people in the state who have championed this issue. Scott has proposed a new bill that would give each parent 50 percent parenting time, allowing a judge to adjust the arrangement if there is proof that one parent would pose a danger mentally, physically or emotionally to the child(ren). Judges would also be able to adjust time sharing arrangement in the face of other issues.

Parents would still be able to agree on a schedule that works best for their situation without the assistance of a judge—the 50 percent standard would be for cases that go to court after parents are unable to reach a decision in negotiations outside of court.

The bill faces an uphill battle to being ratified. While a couple dozen other states have introduced similar bills, Kentucky is the only one to have passed one so far. In addition, the bill does not have the support of the Minnesota Bar Association. Those who do not support the bill say the current standards are fine, and that there is no reason to think a 50/50 split is always the most appropriate arrangement.

For more information about the state’s child custody laws, contact an experienced Minneapolis, MN divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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