Minnesota Custody and Visitation Schedules
You can create your own custody and visitation schedule (on your own or with the other parent) or you can work with an attorney or legal professional and have them create it. If you don't want to pay the high cost of an attorney, and want to easily make your own schedule, you can use the Custody X Change software.
Custody X Change is software that creates custody schedules, calendars, and professional parenting plan documents. Use the free download to see how it can help you.
You can also use Custody X Change to:
- Explore options for your visitation schedule
- Negotiate a schedule and agreement with the other parent
- Show your attorney schedules that you like
- Prepare sample schedules and plans for mediation
- Make a schedule and plan to present in court
Before you begin creating a child visitation schedule in the State of Minnesota, it is important to have knowledge of the laws pertaining to child custody and visitation.
Knowing the law and court procedures when creating your child visitation schedule can help you make one that will serve the needs of your child and that the court will accept.
These laws are found in the Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 518, Domestic Relations.
The law provides specific information regarding the methods the court uses to determine child visitation schedules.
The court utilizes three basic options to determine the child visitation schedule:
- The court may use a child visitation schedule submitted in mutual agreement by the parents
- The court may consider and then modify the child visitation schedules submitted individually by each parent
- The court may elect to create one entirely independent of parental input
The best way to have your custody and visitation schedule approved by the court is to work with the other parent when creating it.
If not, the court will have the power to make the decisions for you.
The best interest of the child is the main concern of the State of Minnesota in family law proceedings involving children.
The court will examine many factors when determining the child's best interests, which include, but are not limited to, those listed in the Minnesota Statutes (MS 2010 518.17 s. 1):
- The wishes of the child's parents as to custody
- The wishes of the child as to custody, provided the child is of sufficient age and maturity to voice an opinion
- Which parent has been the child's primary caretaker
- The nature of the intimate bonds and the relationships between the child and each parent
- The relationships between the child and any siblings or any other person who has a significant effect on the child's best interests
- How the child is adjusted to his/her home, school, and community
- How long the child has resided in a stable, satisfactory environment and the benefit of maintaining that structure
- The permanence, as a family, of the child's existing or proposed custodial home
- The mental and physical health of all parties involved
- The ability and willingness of each of the parents to provide the child with love, guidance, and affection
- The ability and willingness of the parents to continue to educate and raise the child in the child's culture, religion, and/or creed, if any
- The cultural background of the child
- The occurrence of domestic violence and any affect this abuse may have had or may possibly have on the child
- The disposition of each parent to encourage and foster a relationship between the child and the other parent
The court will consider all of the factors that are relevant and may not use a sole factor to negate all of the others. Being a primary caretaker is important, but no presumption of entitlement shall be used when determining the child's best interests.
The court shall not consider the conduct of a parent when that conduct is irrelevant to the parent's relationship with the child.
In Minnesota, the court shall presume that if either or both of you request joint custody of your child, joint custody is in your child's best interests, as long as there are no extenuating circumstances, such as domestic abuse, which would indicate otherwise.
Additional factors will be considered when making a determination for shared or joint custody (MS 2010 518.17 s.2):
- The ability and likeness of the parents to cooperate with each other when raising their child
- The proposed methods for dispute resolution and the likeness and willingness of the parents to utilize those methods
- The impact on the child of having only one parent involved in the child's upbringing
- Whether or not any domestic abuse has occurred between the parents in the past
After reviewing the factors the court considers when determining your child's best interests, you should be able to create a child visitation schedule that complies with the requirements of the court by serving the best interests of your child.
A child visitation schedule is comprised of three basic elements:
- A regular residential schedule which dictates when the child will reside and have parenting time with each parent. The residential schedule should be created in accordance to the custody arrangement, allowing the child an appropriate amount of ongoing, reoccurring contact with each parent on a regular basis.
- A holiday schedule that may also include the child's birthday and any other special days, such as Mother's Day and Father's Day. The holiday schedule should allow the child equitable time with each parent on holidays. Many parents opt to take turns having the child on the holidays and then alternate them every year.
- A vacation schedule or provisions to spend extended time with the child during school breaks and personal vacation time.
As long as your mutually agreed upon child visitation schedule allows the child an appropriate amount of time with each parent, is written in the best interest of your child, and is part of a parenting plan that is written in compliance with the laws of the State of Minnesota, the court will accept it and adopt it as a binding document.
This will ensure you will not be subject to follow a court ordered parenting time schedule that may or may not agree with your availability and address your child's specific needs.
The top twenty cities in Minnesota (by population, US Census Bureau, 2008) are: Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth, Bloomington, Plymouth, Brooklyn Park, St. Cloud, Eagan, Coon Rapids, Maple Grove, Eden Prairie, Burnsville, Woodbury, Blaine, Lakeville, Minnetonka, Apple Valley, Edina, St. Louis Park.