A parent who is subject to a child custody Order and parenting access/time schedule, and who believes that he or she should be entitled to spend more time with her or his minor child, may want to consider re-visiting the terms of that Order.  If, due to a change of circumstances of the parent or child, a more suitable parenting access/time schedule is appropriate, a court is not prohibited from modifying the terms of a schedule, even without a trial, if that change is insubstantial.  Danielson v. Danielson, 393 N.W.2d 405, 407 (Minn. App., 1986). To start with, the court has broad discretion over parenting access/time that it may grant to a parent, although the court is not without guidance when crafting a parenting access/time schedule.

According to statute, a court is required, in the absence of other evidence, to consider that there is a rebuttable presumption that a parent is entitled to receive at least twenty-five percent of the parenting time for the minor child.  Minn. Stat. § 518.175 subd. 1(e).  This means that unless the other parent opposes the request for parenting time, and in addition, can present evidence that the parenting time is likely to harm the child either physically, emotionally, or developmentally, the court has to consider that the parent requesting parenting time should have at least twenty five percent (25%) of the parenting/access time for the child.

The court can, and typically will, consider the number of overnights that a child spends with his or her parent as being determinative of the percentage of parenting access/time that a parent will receive.  So if a parent is presently spending less than ninety (90) overnights per year with her or his minor child, and there is no evidence that the child is endangered by spending time with that parent, that parent should consider seeking a modification of the parenting time schedule, so that the parent can spend at least ninety (90) overnights a year with his or her child.

When considering a modification of a parenting access/time schedule, the courts must consider the presumption that a parent is entitled to at least twenty five percent (25%) of the parenting time for the minor child.  Dahl v.Dahl, 765 N.W.2d 118, 123 (Minn. Ct. App. 2009).

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