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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

SF 1191

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/10/2015 03:16pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to family law; custody and parenting time; modifying best interests
standards; making technical changes; amending Minnesota Statutes 2014,
sections 257.025; 518.167, subdivision 2; 518.17, subdivision 1; repealing
Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.17, subdivisions 1a, 2.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 257.025, is amended to read:


257.025 CUSTODY DISPUTES.

(a) In anynew text begin custody or parenting timenew text end proceeding deleted text beginwhere two or more parties seek
custody of a child
deleted text endnew text begin involving unmarried parents,new text end the court shall consider and evaluate all
relevant factors deleted text beginin determiningdeleted text endnew text begin in section 518.17, subdivision 1, to determinenew text end the best
interests of the childdeleted text begin, including the following factors:deleted text endnew text begin.
new text end

deleted text begin (1) the wishes of the party or parties as to custody;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (2) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of
sufficient age to express preference;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (3) the child's primary caretaker;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (4) the intimacy of the relationship between each party and the child;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (5) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a party or parties, siblings,
and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (6) the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (7) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and
the desirability of maintaining continuity;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (8) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (9) 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;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (10) 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, religion, or
creed, if any;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (11) the child's cultural background; and
deleted text end

deleted text begin (12) 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 the parties.
deleted text end

deleted text begin The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others. The court must make
detailed findings on each of the factors and explain how the factors led to its conclusions
and to the determination of the best interests of the child.
deleted text end

(b) The fact that the parents of the child are not or were never married to each other
shall not be determinative of the custody of the child.

deleted text begin (c) The court shall not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect
the custodian's relationship to the child.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (d) The court shall consider evidence of a violation of section 609.507 in determining
the best interests of the child.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (e)deleted text endnew text begin (c)new text end A person may seek custody of a child by filing a petition or motion pursuant
to section 518.156.

deleted text begin (f)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end Section 518.619 applies to this section.

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.167, subdivision 2, is amended to read:


Subd. 2.

Preparation.

(a) In preparing a report concerning a child, the investigator
may consult any person who may have information about the child and the potential
custodial arrangements except for persons involved in mediation efforts between the
parties. Mediation personnel may disclose to investigators and evaluators information
collected during mediation only if agreed to in writing by all parties. Upon order of the
court, the investigator may refer the child to professional personnel for diagnosis. The
investigator may consult with and obtain information from medical, psychiatric, school
personnel, or other expert persons who have served the child in the past after obtaining the
consent of the parents or the child's custodian or guardian.

(b) The report submitted by the investigator mustnew text begin:
new text end

new text begin (1) state the position of each party;
new text end

new text begin (2)new text end consider and evaluate the factors in section 518.17, subdivision 1deleted text begin, anddeleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (3)new text end include a detailed analysis of all information considered for each factordeleted text begin. If joint
custody is contemplated or sought, the report must consider and evaluate the factors in
section 518.17, subdivision 2, state the position of each party and
deleted text endnew text begin;
new text end

new text begin (4) statenew text end the investigator's recommendation and the reason for the recommendationdeleted text begin,deleted text endnew text begin;new text end
and

new text begin (5)new text end reference established means for dispute resolution between the parties.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.17, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

The best interests of the child.

deleted text begin (a) "The best interests of the child"
means all relevant factors to be considered and evaluated by the court including:
deleted text end

deleted text begin (1) the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (2) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of
sufficient age to express preference;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (3) the child's primary caretaker;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (4) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (5) 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;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (6) the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (7) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and
the desirability of maintaining continuity;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (8) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (9) 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;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (10) 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;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (11) the child's cultural background;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (12) 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
deleted text end

deleted text begin (13) 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.
deleted text end

deleted text begin The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others. The primary
caretaker factor may not be used as a presumption in determining the best interests of the
child. The court must make detailed findings on each of the factors and explain how the
factors led to its conclusions and to the determination of the best interests of the child.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (b) The court shall not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect
the custodian's relationship to the child.
deleted text end

new text begin (a) In evaluating the best interests of the child for purposes of determining issues
of custody and parenting time, the court must consider and evaluate all relevant factors,
including:
new text end

new text begin (1) a child's physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of
the proposed arrangements on the child's needs and development;
new text end

new text begin (2) any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have
that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services;
new text end

new text begin (3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of
sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference;
new text end

new text begin (4) whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred in the
parents' or either parent's household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic
abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child's safety,
well-being, and developmental needs;
new text end

new text begin (5) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child's
safety or developmental needs;
new text end

new text begin (6) the history and nature of each parent's participation in providing care for the child;
new text end

new text begin (7) the willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child;
to meet the child's ongoing developmental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs; and to
maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time;
new text end

new text begin (8) the effect on the child's well-being and development of changes to home, school,
and community;
new text end

new text begin (9) the effect of the proposed arrangements on the ongoing relationships between the
child and each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child's life;
new text end

new text begin (10) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the
detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent;
new text end

new text begin (11) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred,
the disposition of each parent to support the child's relationship with the other parent
and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the
other parent; and
new text end

new text begin (12) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child;
to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict;
and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning
the life of the child.
new text end

new text begin (b) Clauses (1) to (9) govern the application of the best interests of the child factors
by the court:
new text end

new text begin (1) The court must make detailed findings on each of the factors in paragraph (a)
based on the evidence presented and explain how each factor led to its conclusions and to
the determination of custody and parenting time. The court may not use one factor to the
exclusion of all others, and the court shall consider that the factors may be interrelated.
new text end

new text begin (2) 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.
new text end

new text begin (3) The court shall consider both parents as having the capacity to develop and
sustain nurturing relationships with their children unless there are substantial reasons
to believe otherwise. In assessing whether parents are capable of sustaining nurturing
relationships with their children, the court shall recognize that there are many ways that
parents can respond to a child's needs with sensitivity and provide the child love and
guidance, and these may differ between parents and among cultures.
new text end

new text begin (4) The court shall not consider conduct of a party that does not affect the party's
relationship with the child.
new text end

new text begin (5) Disability alone, as defined in section 363A.03, of a proposed custodian or the
child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child.
new text end

new text begin (6) The court shall consider evidence of a violation of section 609.507 in determining
the best interests of the child.
new text end

new text begin (7) There is no presumption for or against joint physical custody, except when
domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred between the parents.
new text end

new text begin (8) Joint physical custody does not require an absolutely equal division of time.
new text end

new text begin (9) The court shall use a rebuttable presumption that upon request of either or both
parties, joint legal custody is in the best interests of the child. However, the court shall use
a rebuttable presumption that joint legal custody or joint physical custody is not in the
best interests of the child if domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred
between the parents. Disagreement alone over whether to grant sole or joint custody
does not constitute an inability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their children as
referenced in paragraph (a), clause (12).
new text end

Sec. 4. new text begin REPEALER.
new text end

new text begin Minnesota Statutes 2014, section 518.17, subdivisions 1a and 2, new text end new text begin are repealed.
new text end