Parenting time between a parent and a child, or what has been commonly called “visitation”, is governed by Minn.Stat. §518.175. The statute states that the “court shall, upon the request of either parent, grant such parenting time on behalf of the child and a parent as will enable the child and the parent to maintain a child to parent relationship that will be in the best interests of the child.” The statute also states that “If the court finds, after a hearing, that parenting time with a parent is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health or impair the child’s emotional development, the court shall restrict parenting time with that parent as to time, place, duration, or supervision and may deny parenting time entirely, as the circumstances warrant.”
Generally speaking, a parent should be entitled to parenting time with his or her minor children unless such parenting time would pose a danger to the child.
Unfortunately, all too often the parent with primary custody will try to poison the relationship between the children and the noncustodial parent, behavior which has come to be known as parental alienation syndrome (PAS). Our attorneys are quite familiar with the work of Dr. Richard Gardner regarding parental alienation syndrome and its criticism (see, e.g., the Wikipedia entry on PAS), and have successfully litigated cases involving the psychological disorder.
There are no guidelines regarding what parenting time should be in a marital dissolution or custody proceeding, but the parenting time statute does state that “In the absence of other evidence, there is a rebuttable presumption that a parent is entitled to receive at least 25 percent of the parenting time for the child”, as calculated by adding up the overnights the children spend with the parent during the year.
A Parenting Time Order may be modified at any point in time provided that a modification serves the “best interests” of the minor children. The Parenting Time statute also states, however, that a Parenting Time Order may not be modified in such a way that the primary residence of the minor children would change.
Finally, the parenting time statute also contains a number of sanctions which are available when a parent is unjustifiably denied access to his or her children; including compensatory parenting time, civil sanctions, and/or attorneys fees or costs (Minn.Stat. §518.175, subd. 6).
We have also obtained favorable results for mothers in marital dissolution and custody proceedings.