First, there are no parenting time guidelines in Minnesota. The custody and parenting time criteria is set forth in Minnesota Statute 518.17, which incorporates the following Best Interest Factors:
- the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody;
- the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
- the child’s primary caretaker;
- the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;
- 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;
- the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
- the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
- the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability, as defined in section 363A.03, of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
- 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;
- the child’s cultural background;
- the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent; and
- except in cases in which a finding of domestic abuse as defined in section 518B.01 has been made, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.
Therefore, Minnesota Law does not account for a scenario where, if a child is of a certain age, the parents are going to get a certain amount of time. Minnesota Law, however, does set forth a minimum presumptive percentage of time that must be awarded to the non-custodial parent, which is twenty-five percent (25%). For example, in any divorce case, the starting point would be that the non-custodial parent should start with at least twenty-five percent (25%) of time. This is a Statutory Presumption. However, this presumption can be overcome by the custodial parent showing that the non-custodial parent should get less than twenty-five percent (25%) based on concerns (neglect, abuse, etc.), or the non-custodial parent can request more time than the presumptive parenting time awarded by the Statute (ex. prior history of providing care, close and intimate relationship between the parent and the child, work schedules, etc.).
Parenting time is also dependent upon the particular stage of the proceeding it is addressed. For example, when custody and parenting time has never been established, the Best Interest factors control (see above).
On the other hand, once a custody and parenting time Order has already been entered, the Best Interest factors do not exclusively control that situation, rather it is a much higher that either parent has to show to change custody.