Here, our Mankato child custody attorneys provide an overview of the factors that Minnesota family law judges use to determine what is in the best interests of the child. Minnesota’s New “Best Interest Factors” for Child Custody. 518.17), there are 12 different factors that courts must consider when determining what type of custody & visitation arrangement is in the best interests of the child. New Factor: (1) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child's safety or developmental needs; (2) any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services. Not only does this allow the court to consider all ongoing relationships in a child’s life, including relationships with people not previously enumerated in the statute, but the new factor also eliminates the requirement that the court consider the length and permanency of the custody arraignment. A judge cannot look at one or two factors and ignore the rest; judges must apply all 13 factors, including: 518.17), there are 12 different factors that courts must consider when determining what type of custody & visitation arrangement is in the best interests of the child. New and Improved - the Best Interest Standard for Child Custody in MN, 612-436-7100 (Mpls) 720-949-7574 (Den). Specifically, these factors are as follows: At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our family law attorneys have many years of experience handling child custody cases. Previously, when tasked with decisions regarding child custody and parenting time, Minnesota courts engaged in a two-step … Courts are focused on protecting a child’s safety and well-being, so parental desires will always be a secondary consideration. If either party sought joint physical custody, a four-step analysis of the party’s ability to co-parent followed the first step. The new statute scheme maintains the old statute’s focus on a wide array of issues that attribute to the overall well-being of the child, while updating the factors to reflect and eliminate problems that were previously unaddressed. We will protect your parental rights and help you obtain a favorable outcome in your child custody case. New and Improved - the Best Interest Standard for Child Custody in MN. While these changes may seem small, the legislature rewrote the to focus exclusively on the effect these issues have on the child. (2) The court shall consider that it is 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. Judges must always focus primarily on what is in a child's overall best interests. In Minnesota, child custody determinations are made by determining what is best for the child. New Factor: (1) the willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child; to meet the child’s ongoing development, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs; and to maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time; and (2) the child’s physical emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development. Posted Dec 11, 2019 by Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office | Child Custody. Old factor: the child's primary caretaker; New factor: the history and nature of each parent's participation in providing care for the child. Old Factor: the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability, as defined in section. (a) The policy of the state of Minnesota is to ensure that the child's best interests are met by requiring an individualized determination of the needs of the child and of how the selected placement will serve the needs of the child being placed. This new wording reflects the often times nuanced parental roles and allows the court to look at the entire history of the relationship without confining parties to the use of such black and white language. To schedule a free consultation with Kohlmeyer | Hagen Law Office. New Factors:  (1) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent; (2) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child's relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent; and (3) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child. While a finding of domestic abuse had previously served as a hurdle for parents seeking custody or parenting time, this new wording suggests that a court may engage in a more nuanced analysis of the situation. These new factors are important because they instruct the court, in every case, to consider the capability of the parties to co-parent, their willingness to resolve disputes without court intervention, and their ability to foster and encourage positive relationships between their child and their co-parent. The new wording gives the court leeway in determining when a child is mature enough to weigh his or her options, if the child is capable of forming an opinion, and if the child is able to adequately express his or her own opinion on where and with whom he or she wants to live. Old Factors: (1) the capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child's culture and religion or creed, if any; and (2) the child's cultural background. This new wording incorporates several of the old factors into one much more general factor. This is a subtle reminder to the parties that their interests are secondary to the interests of the child. Although courts often took chemical health into account, this change codifies that ongoing chemical dependency can and should have an effect on a parent’s custody and parenting time. Subdivision 1. The new wording gives the court leeway in determining when a child is mature enough to weigh his or her options, if the child is capable of forming an opinion, and if the child is able to adequately express his or her own opinion on where and with whom he or she wants to live. From our law office in Mankato, we represent parents and legal guardians throughout Southern Minnesota, including Rochester. Old factor:  the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, as defined in section. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. All rights reserved. The new factor preserves the court’s concern for whether or not domestic abuse is occurring or has occurred in the home; however, the new wording emphasizes that the court’s focus should be on how domestic abuse affects the child at issue. This enables the court to be flexible in its evaluation of a situation and to discard factors that it may deem unimportant. For a free initial consultation, contact us today. Old Factors: (1) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child; (2) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests; (3) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity; and (4) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home.