Joint Physical Custody Bill Advances in Minnesota Senate

HF322, a bill that would alter Minnesota’s parenting time presumption was heard for a second time in the Senate Judiciary Committee.  It was re-referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee after being altered in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee.  The Judiciary Committee voted to send the bill to the Senate Finance Committee without a recommendation.  The version of the bill that passed the House last month would raise the current presumption of 25% physical custody to 45.1% physical custody.  The presumption could only be overcome by proving under a clear and convincing legal standard the type of mistreatment that would trigger child protection proceedings.  The presumption ( 45.1%) would therefore override Minnesota longstanding “best interests of the child” standard applicable to contested child custody cases.  The Senate Judiciary Committee eliminated most of the House language and set the presumption at 35%.

The Senate Finance committee passed the bill and sent it to the Senate Floor.  If the bill becomes law, then a wave of custody modifications requests is expected to strain the court system, but no plan has been offered to cover the increased costs and burden on the courts.   South Dakota recently rejected a similar bill.

If you have any concerns about this bill, then consider contacting your local elected official to express your concern.  The Minnesota Family Law Section opposes this bill.  I once supported a joint physical approach, but I have modified my opinion based upon the proposed legislation.


About Kate Willmore, Esq.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, divorce, custody and family attorney brings over 25 years experience to every client's legal matter. *** Licensed in Minnesota and in California

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