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Is it possible to change my parenting time order?
Like many issues that involve children, Minnesota courts must consider the best interest of the child in order to modify a previously ordered parenting time schedule. Generally, modifications of parenting time, even to obtain equal parenting time are possible without bringing a motion to modify custody. In order to modify custody, the party seeking to modify custody generally must show endangerment in the current custodial arrangement, and this can be difficult to prove. However, many modifications of parenting time do not require a modification of custody and can be accomplished if it can be shown that the new parenting time schedule would better serve the best interest of the child.
I signed a Recognition of Parentage document when my child was born. What can I do to get custody or parenting time with my child?
If you and the child’s mother signed a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) document at the time of the child’s birth and filed it with the state, then generally you have already been adjudicated as the father of the child. It would not be necessary to go to court to establish paternity if you have a validly signed ROP. In order to get custody or parenting time with your child, you can simply file a petition for custody or parenting time. Initial determinations of custody and parenting time are based on the best interest of the child. Those factors can be found at Minn. Stat. 518.17. A court must consider all those factors in deciding which parent should have custody and what the parenting time schedule should be.
I want equal parenting time with my kids. Is this possible?
It is important to note that in Minnesota a parent generally has a right to at least 25% of the time with the child, unless there are other circumstances such as a history of abuse that would make that much time with the child inappropriate. While parenting time determinations are based on the best interest of the child and the court must consider all of those factors in granting parenting time, including who has traditionally been the primary caretaker of the child, it is more common to see equal parenting time schedules in Minnesota. Some children do well with equally sharing parenting time with both parents and others do better with one primary home and extended time with the other parent on weekends, holidays, and school breaks. Parenting time is also dictated by practical issues such as the parents’ work schedules, the distance between the parents, and the activities and special needs of the children. In any event, the children’s well-being should be the primary concern in agreeing to a parenting time schedule with the other parent or seeking a court order for parenting time.
For More Information
Parents Forever program