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SF 3504

as introduced - 92nd Legislature (2021 - 2022) Posted on 03/17/2022 10:39am

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.

Current Version - as introduced

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A bill for an act
relating to domestic relations; modifying parenting time provisions; amending
Minnesota Statutes 2020, sections 257.025; 518.131, subdivisions 1, 11; 518.14;
518.17, subdivisions 1, 3; 518.175, subdivisions 1, 6.

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

Section 1. new text beginPUBLIC POLICY STATEMENT.
new text end

new text begin The public policy of this state is to:
new text end

new text begin (1) ensure that each child has frequent and substantial contact with the child's parents,
as long as the child's parents have shown the ability to act in the best interests of the child;
new text end

new text begin (2) ensure that parents and caregivers provide a safe and nurturing environment for each
child; and
new text end

new text begin (3) encourage parents to share the rights and duties of raising their child.
new text end

Sec. 2.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 257.025, is amended to read:


257.025 CUSTODY new text beginAND PARENTING TIME new text endDISPUTES.

(a) In any custody or parenting time proceeding involving unmarried parents, the court
shall considernew text begin section 518.175new text end and evaluate all relevant factors in section 518.17, subdivision
1
, to determine the best interests of the child.

(b) The fact that the parents of the child are not or were never married to each other shall
not be determinative of the custodynew text begin and parenting timenew text end of the child.

(c) A person may seek custody of a child by filing a petition or motion pursuant to section
518.156.

(d) Section 518.619 applies to this section.

Sec. 3.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.131, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Permissible orders.

In a proceeding brought for custody, dissolution,
or legal separation, or for disposition of property, maintenance, or child support following
the dissolution of a marriage, either party may, by motion, request from the court and the
court may grant a temporary order pending the final disposition of the proceeding to or for:

(a) Temporary custody and parenting time regarding the minor children of the partiesnew text begin.
Before commencing the action, the court must determine a temporary parenting time schedule
with each of the parents that considers the child's access to each parent as required under
section 518.17, subdivision 1. If the child's access to a parent was limited or restricted before
the action commenced, the court must determine the child's custody and parenting time in
a manner that supports the child's opportunity to develop a relationship with both parents
in accordance with sections 518.17 and 518.175
new text end;

(b) Temporary maintenance of either spouse;

(c) Temporary child support for the children of the parties;

(d) Temporary costs and reasonable attorney fees;

(e) Award the temporary use and possession, exclusive or otherwise, of the family home,
furniture, household goods, automobiles, and other property of the parties;

(f) Restrain one or both parties from transferring, encumbering, concealing, or disposing
of property except in the usual course of business or for the necessities of life, and to account
to the court for all such transfers, encumbrances, dispositions, and expenditures made after
the order is served or communicated to the party restrained in open court;

(g) Restrain one or both parties from harassing, vilifying, mistreating, molesting,
disturbing the peace, or restraining the liberty of the other party or the children of the parties;

(h) Restrain one or both parties from removing any minor child of the parties from the
jurisdiction of the court;

(i) Exclude a party from the family home of the parties or from the home of the other
party; and

(j) Require one or both of the parties to perform or to not perform such additional acts
as will facilitate the just and speedy disposition of the proceeding, or will protect the parties
or their children from physical or emotional harm.

Sec. 4.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.131, subdivision 11, is amended to read:


Subd. 11.

deleted text begin Temporary support and maintenance. deleted text end new text begin Cases given priority for temporary
relief.
new text end

deleted text begin Temporary support and maintenance may be ordered during the time a parenting
plan is being developed under section 518.1705.
deleted text end new text begin (a) While the proceeding is pending, the
court must give priority to scheduling and holding an expedited hearing for temporary relief
where a party credibly alleges that:
new text end

new text begin (1) the party has been denied parenting time with a child for 14 consecutive days or
more; or
new text end

new text begin (2) the party has been unreasonably denied access to necessary financial resources or
support during a pending marital dissolution.
new text end

new text begin (b) A court must hold a priority hearing under this subdivision within 14 days of the
party's request.
new text end

Sec. 5.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.14, is amended to read:


518.14 COSTS AND DISBURSEMENTS; ATTORNEY FEES; COLLECTION
COSTS.

Subdivision 1.

General.

Except as provided in section 518A.735, in a proceeding under
this chapter or chapter 518A, the court shall award attorney fees, costs, and disbursements
in an amount necessary to enable a party to carry on or contest the proceeding, provided it
finds:

(1) that the fees are necessary for the good faith assertion of the party's rights in the
proceeding and will not contribute unnecessarily to the length and expense of the proceeding;

(2) that the party from whom fees, costs, and disbursements are sought has the means
to pay them; and

(3) that the party to whom fees, costs, and disbursements are awarded does not have the
means to pay them.

new text begin Subd. 1a. new text end

new text begin Other award. new text end

deleted text beginNothing in this section or section 518A.735 precludesdeleted text end The
court deleted text beginfrom awardingdeleted text endnew text begin may awardnew text end, in its discretion, additional fees, costs, and disbursements
against a party who unreasonably contributes to the length or expense of the proceedingnew text begin or
whose unreasonable failure to comply with an order or decree causes the other party to seek
enforcement or other relief, including the reimbursement of fees and costs incurred before
filing a motion
new text end. Fees, costs, and disbursements provided for in this section and section
518A.735 may be awarded at any point in the proceeding, including a modification
proceeding under sections 518.18 and 518A.39. The court may adjudge costs and
disbursements against either party. The court may authorize the collection of money awarded
by execution, or out of property sequestered, or in any other manner within the power of
the court. An award of attorney's fees made by the court during the pendency of the
proceeding or in the final judgment survives the proceeding and if not paid by the party
directed to pay the same may be enforced as above provided or by a separate civil action
brought in the attorney's own name. If the proceeding is dismissed or abandoned prior to
determination and award of attorney's fees, the court may nevertheless award attorney's fees
upon the attorney's motion. The award shall also survive the proceeding and may be enforced
in the same manner as last above provided.

Sec. 6.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.17, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

Best interests of the child.

(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:

(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;

(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;

(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;

(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;

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

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

(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;

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

(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;

(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;

(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

(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.

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

(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.

(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 begin In determining custody, the court must consider the best interests
of each child and must not prefer one parent over the other solely on the basis of the gender
of the parent.
new text end

(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.

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

(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.

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

(7) There is no presumption for or against joint physical custody, except as provided in
clause (9).

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

(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. In determining whether the presumption is rebutted, the court shall consider
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. 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).

(c) In a proceeding involving the custodial responsibility of a service member's child, a
court may not consider only a parent's past deployment or possible future deployment in
determining the best interests of the child. For purposes of this paragraph, "custodial
responsibility" has the meaning given in section 518E.102, paragraph (f).

Sec. 7.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.17, subdivision 3, is amended to read:


Subd. 3.

Custody order.

(a) Upon adjudging the nullity of a marriage, or in a dissolution
or separation proceeding, or in a child custody proceeding, the court shall make such further
order as it deems just and proper concerning:

(1) the legal custody of the minor children of the parties deleted text beginwhichdeleted text endnew text begin thatnew text end shall be sole or joint;

(2) their physical custodynew text begin, parenting time,new text end and residence; and

(3) their support. deleted text beginIn determining custody, the court shall consider the best interests of
each child and shall not prefer one parent over the other solely on the basis of the sex of the
parent.
deleted text end

(b) The court shall grant the rights listed in subdivision 3a to each of the parties, regardless
of custodial designation, unless specific findings are made under section 518.68, subdivision
1
. The court shall include in the custody order the notice under subdivision 3a.

(c) The court may waive any of the rights under this section if it finds it is necessary to
protect the welfare of a party or child.

(d) If a court order or law prohibits contact by a party, the notifications and information
required to be sent under subdivision 3a, clauses (1), (2), (3), (5), and (6), shall not be made
by direct communication of the parties. Third-party communication shall be limited to the
specific purposes delineated in this subdivision or subdivision 3a. Nothing in this subdivision
or subdivision 3a shall modify, suspend, revoke, or terminate a court order or law that
prohibits contact by a party.

(e) If one of the parties is a program participant under chapter 5B, the other party shall
send all information and notifications required under subdivision 3a, clauses (1), (2), (3),
(5), and (6), to the participant's designated address. The program participant is exempted
from the requirements of subdivision 3a.

(f) Failure to notify or inform a party of rights under subdivision 3a does not form a
basis for modification under section 518.18, paragraph (d), clause (iv), unless other grounds
are alleged which would support a modification.

Sec. 8.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.175, subdivision 1, is amended to read:


Subdivision 1.

General.

(a) In all proceedings for dissolution or legal separation,
subsequent to the commencement of the proceeding and continuing thereafter during the
minority of the child, the court shall, upon the request of either parent, grant such parenting
time on behalf of the child and a parent as will enable the child and the parent to maintain
a child to parent relationship that will be in the best interests of the child. The court, when
issuing a parenting time order, may reserve a determination as to the future establishment
or expansion of a parent's parenting time. In that event, the best interest standard set forth
in subdivision 5, paragraph (a), shall be applied to a subsequent motion to establish or
expand parenting time.

(b) If the court finds, after a hearing, that parenting time with a parent is likely to endanger
the child's physicalnew text begin, mental,new text end or emotional healthnew text begin or safetynew text end or impair the child's emotional
development, the court shall restrict parenting time with that parent as to time, place, duration,
or supervision and may deny parenting time entirely, as the circumstances warrant. The
court shall consider the age of the child and the child's relationship with the parent prior to
the commencement of the proceeding.

(c) A parent's failure to pay support because of the parent's inability to do so shall not
be sufficient cause for denial of parenting time.

(d) The court may provide that a law enforcement officer or other appropriate person
will accompany a party seeking to enforce or comply with parenting time.

(e) Upon request of either party, to the extent practicable an order for parenting time
must include a specific schedule for new text beginregular new text endparenting time, including the frequency and
duration of deleted text beginvisitationdeleted text endnew text begin parenting timenew text end and deleted text beginvisitationdeleted text end new text beginparenting time new text endduring holidays deleted text beginanddeleted text endnew text begin,new text end
vacations, new text beginand school breaks new text endunless parenting time is restricted, denied, or reserved.

(f) The court administrator shall provide a form for a pro se motion regarding parenting
time disputes, which includes provisions for indicating the relief requested, an affidavit in
which the party may state the facts of the dispute, and a brief description of the parenting
time expeditor process under section 518.1751. The form may not include a request for a
change of custody. The court shall provide instructions on serving and filing the motion.

(g) In the absence of other evidence, there is a rebuttable presumption that a deleted text beginparent is
entitled to
deleted text endnew text begin child mustnew text end receive a minimum ofnew text begin at leastnew text end 25 percent of the parenting time deleted text beginfor the
child
deleted text endnew text begin with each parentnew text end. For purposes of this paragraph, the percentage of parenting time
may be determined by calculating the number of overnights that a child spends with a parent
or by using a method other than overnights if the parent has significant time periods on
separate days when the child is in the parent's physical custody but does not stay overnight.
The court may consider the age of the child in determining whether a child is with a parent
for a significant period of time.

Sec. 9.

Minnesota Statutes 2020, section 518.175, subdivision 6, is amended to read:


Subd. 6.

Remedies.

new text begin (a) Each party must follow a court's order for custody and parenting
time unless the parties have made another agreement in writing.
new text end

new text begin (b) For the purposes of this subdivision, "court-ordered parenting time" means:
new text end

new text begin (1) parenting time that a court has ordered, regardless of whether the order is temporary
or permanent and whether the family court or juvenile court has issued the order;
new text end

new text begin (2) an order by a parenting time consultant, parenting coordinator, special master, or
other court-appointed individual who is authorized to establish or modify parenting time;
or
new text end

new text begin (3) a binding agreement or decision under section 518.1751, subdivision 3.
new text end

deleted text begin (a)deleted text endnew text begin (c)new text end The court deleted text beginmaydeleted text end new text beginmust new text endprovide compensatory parenting time when new text begina parent has
intentionally made
new text enda substantial amount of court-ordered parenting time deleted text beginhas been madedeleted text end
unavailable to deleted text beginonedeleted text endnew text begin the othernew text end parent unless providing the compensatory parenting time is not
consistent with the child's best interests.new text begin The court must consider all relevant evidence to
determine whether a parent has made a substantial amount of court-ordered parenting time
unavailable to the other parent.
new text end

deleted text begin (b) The court shall provide for one of the remedies as provided under this subdivision
for (1) a repeated and intentional denial of or interference with court-ordered parenting time,
or (2) a repeated and intentional failure to comply with a binding agreement or decision
under section 518.1751.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (c)deleted text endnew text begin (d)new text end If the court finds that a person has been deprived of court-ordered parenting time
under paragraph (b), the court shall order the parent who has interfered to allow compensatory
parenting time to the other parent. When compensatory parenting time is awarded, additional
parenting time must be:

(1) at least of the same type and duration as the deprived parenting time and, at the
discretion of the court, may be in excess of or of a different type than the deprived parenting
time;

(2) taken within one year after the deprived parenting time; and

(3) at a time acceptable to the parent deprived of parenting time.

deleted text begin (d)deleted text endnew text begin (e)new text end If the court finds that a party has repeatedly and intentionally denied or interfered
with court-ordered parenting time deleted text beginor failed to comply with a binding agreement or decision
under section 518.1751
deleted text end, the court deleted text beginmaydeleted text endnew text begin shall,new text end in addition to awarding compensatory parenting
time deleted text beginunder paragraph (c):deleted text endnew text begin require the party to reimburse the other party for costs incurred
as a result of the party's denial of or interference with court-ordered parenting time and
award reasonable attorney fees to the other party. The court may:
new text end

(1) impose a deleted text begincivil penaltydeleted text endnew text begin sanctionnew text end of up to deleted text begin$500 ondeleted text endnew text begin $1,000 against the party who denied
or interfered with parenting time that is payable to
new text end the new text beginother new text endparty;

new text begin (2) modify legal and physical custody of the child by awarding custody of the child to
the party whose parenting time was denied or interfered with; or
new text end

deleted text begin (2) require the party to post a bond with the court for a specified period of time to secure
the party's compliance;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (3) award reasonable attorney's fees and costs;
deleted text end

deleted text begin (4) require the party who violated the parenting time order or binding agreement or
decision of the parenting time expeditor to reimburse the other party for costs incurred as
a result of the violation of the order or agreement or decision; or
deleted text end

deleted text begin (5)deleted text endnew text begin (3)new text end award any other remedy that the court finds to be in the best interests of the
children involved.

deleted text begin A civil penalty imposed under this paragraph must be deposited in the county general
fund and must be used to fund the costs of a parenting time expeditor program in a county
with this program. In other counties, the civil penalty must be deposited in the state general
fund.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (e)deleted text endnew text begin (f)new text end The court shall provide one or more of the remedies available in paragraph (d),
clauses (1) deleted text beginto (5)deleted text endnew text begin and (2)new text end, if deleted text beginone of the following occurs:
deleted text end

deleted text begin (1)deleted text end the court finds that a party has repeatedly and intentionally denied or interfered with
court-ordered parenting time after a previous finding that the party repeatedly and
intentionally denied or interfered with court-ordered parenting timedeleted text begin; ordeleted text endnew text begin.
new text end

deleted text begin (2) the court finds that a party has failed to comply with a binding agreement or decision
under section 518.1751 after a previous finding that the party failed to comply with a binding
agreement or decision under section 518.1751.
deleted text end

deleted text begin (f)deleted text endnew text begin (g)new text end If the court makes written findings that any denial of or interference with
court-ordered parenting time deleted text beginor the failure to comply with a binding agreement or decision
under section 518.1751
deleted text end was necessary to protect a child's physical or emotional health, the
court is not required to comply with paragraphs (b) to (e).

deleted text begin (g)deleted text endnew text begin (h)new text end If the court finds that a party has been denied parenting time and has incurred
expenses in connection with the denied parenting time, the court may require the party who
denied parenting time to post a bond in favor of the other party in the amount of prepaid
expenses associated with upcoming planned parenting time.

deleted text begin (h)deleted text endnew text begin (i)new text end Proof of an unwarranted denial of or interference with duly established parenting
time may constitute contempt of court and may be sufficient cause for reversal of custody.

deleted text begin (i)deleted text endnew text begin (j)new text end All parenting time orders must include notice of the provisions of this subdivision.

new text begin (k) The required notice under paragraph (i) must be substantially as follows:
new text end

new text begin "NOTICE REGARDING COMPLIANCE WITH PARENTING TIME ORDER:
new text end

new text begin The parties are expected to fully comply with the court's order unless the parties mutually
agree otherwise. Pursuant to Minnesota Statutes, section 518.175, subdivision 6, and
Minnesota Statutes, section 518.131, subdivision 11, the parties are hereby notified that:
new text end

new text begin (1) The court shall award compensatory parenting time to a parent who has been prevented
from exercising parenting time;
new text end

new text begin (2) Deprivation of parental rights is a FELONY crime pursuant to Minnesota Statutes,
section 609.375.
new text end

new text begin (3) If the court finds that one parent has repeatedly and intentionally denied or interfered
with another parent's parenting time, then the court shall award attorney fees to the parent
who has been denied parenting time and require the parent who has been denying or
interfering with parenting time to pay the other parent for costs incurred as a result of
enforcing the decision.
new text end

new text begin (4) If the court finds that one parent has repeatedly and intentionally denied or interfered
with parenting time, then the court may also:
new text end

new text begin (i) transfer custody of the child to the other parent;
new text end

new text begin (ii) impose a sanction of up to $1,000 on the parent who repeatedly and intentionally
denied or interfered with parenting time; and
new text end

new text begin (iii) award other relief as determined to be in the best interests of the children involved."
new text end