Minneapolis, Minnesota family law attorney Marc Johannsen shares how the best interest factors have been modified by the Minnesota legislature.
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The bill just passed by the legislature and signed by the governor this week did fundamentally rewrite the “best interest” factors. Many of the ideas of the old factors have been reworded in a more easy to understand and usable fashion, but they’ve introduced a number of innovations or modifications to those factors, and I’d like to talk about those.
The first is, whether there are any special needs of the child, both medical, emotion, or physical that would dictate a particular custodial arrangement and which parents would be in a better position to provide for those needs.
Another would be the benefit to the child in maximizing the amount of time that child would spend with both parents, and then also comparing that to whether there would be a detriment to the child with not maximizing the amount of parenting time that would be spent with each parent, and that’s a very large change from prior law.
The third would be the willingness of and the ability of each parent to cooperate in the rearing of the child and to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to negative things that may go on between the parents. And then also to be willing to and also utilize alternative dispute resolution methods to ensure that the child’s needs are being met.
But a very large innovation is that directive language that’s being given to the court, which said that 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. So, this is a very new statement in law that has never been there heretofore. And as a result, I think the court will have much more direction in terms of trying to ensure that children spend significant amounts of time with both parents that are loving and stable homes.
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