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518.175 Visitation of children and noncustodial parent.

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 rights of visitation on behalf of the child and noncustodial parent as will enable the child and the noncustodial parent to maintain a child to parent relationship that will be in the best interests of the child. If the court finds, after a hearing, that visitation is likely to endanger the child's physical or emotional health or impair the child's emotional development, the court shall restrict visitation by the noncustodial parent as to time, place, duration, or supervision and may deny visitation entirely, as the circumstances warrant. The court shall consider the age of the child and the child's relationship with the noncustodial parent prior to the commencement of the proceeding. A parent's failure to pay support because of the parent's inability to do so shall not be sufficient cause for denial of visitation.

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

(c) Upon request of either party, to the extent practicable a visitation order must include a specific schedule for visitation, including the frequency and duration of visitation and visitation during holidays and vacations, unless visitation is restricted, denied, or reserved.

(d) The court administrator shall provide a form for a pro se motion regarding visitation 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 visitation 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.

Subd. 1a. Domestic abuse; supervised visitation. (a) If a custodial parent requests supervised visitation under subdivision 1 or 5 and an order for protection under chapter 518B or a similar law of another state is in effect against the noncustodial parent to protect the custodial parent or the child, the judge or judicial officer must consider the order for protection in making a decision regarding visitation.

(b) The state court administrator, in consultation with representatives of custodial and noncustodial parents and other interested persons, shall develop standards to be met by persons who are responsible for supervising visitation. Either parent may challenge the appropriateness of an individual chosen by the court to supervise visitation.

Subd. 2. Upon the request of either parent, the court may inform any child of the parties, if eight years of age or older, or otherwise of an age of suitable comprehension, of the rights of the child and the noncustodial parent under the order or decree or any substantial amendment thereof. The custodial parent shall present the child for visitation by the noncustodial parent, at such times as the court directs.

Subd. 3. The custodial parent shall not move the residence of the child to another state except upon order of the court or with the consent of the noncustodial parent, when the noncustodial parent has been given visitation rights by the decree. If the purpose of the move is to interfere with visitation rights given to the noncustodial parent by the decree, the court shall not permit the child's residence to be moved to another state.

Subd. 4. Repealed, 1996 c 391 art 1 s 6

Subd. 5. Modification of visitation order. The court shall modify an order granting or denying visitation rights whenever modification would serve the best interests of the child. Except as provided in section 631.52, the court may not restrict visitation rights unless it finds that:

(1) the visitation is likely to endanger the child's physical or emotional health or impair the child's emotional development; or

(2) the noncustodial parent has chronically and unreasonably failed to comply with court-ordered visitation.

If the custodial parent makes specific allegations that visitation places the custodial parent or child in danger of harm, the court shall hold a hearing at the earliest possible time to determine the need to modify the order granting visitation rights. Consistent with subdivision 1a, the court may require a third party, including the local social services agency, to supervise the visitation or may restrict a parent's visitation rights if necessary to protect the custodial parent or child from harm.

Subd. 6. Remedies. (a) The court may provide for one or more of the following remedies for denial of or interference with court-ordered visitation as provided under this subdivision. All visitation orders must include notice of the provisions of this subdivision.

(b) If the court finds that a person has been deprived of court-ordered visitation, the court shall order the custodial parent to permit additional visits to compensate for the visitation of which the person was deprived or the court shall make specific findings as to why a request for compensatory visitation is denied. If compensatory visitation is awarded, additional visits must be:

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

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

(3) at a time acceptable to the person deprived of visitation.

(c) If the court finds that a party has wrongfully failed to comply with a visitation order or a binding agreement or decision under section 518.1751, the court may:

(1) impose a civil penalty of up to $500 on the party;

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

(3) award reasonable attorney's fees and costs;

(4) require the party who violated the visitation order or binding agreement or decision of the visitation expeditor to reimburse the other party for costs incurred as a result of the violation of the order or agreement or decision; or

(5) award any other remedy that the court finds to be in the best interests of the children involved.

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 visitation expeditor program in a county with this program. In other counties, the civil penalty must be deposited in the state general fund.

(d) If the court finds that a party has been denied visitation and has incurred expenses in connection with the denied visitation, the court may require the party who denied visitation to post a bond in favor of the other party in the amount of prepaid expenses associated with an upcoming planned visitation.

(e) Proof of an unwarranted denial of or interference with duly established visitation may constitute contempt of court and may be sufficient cause for reversal of custody.

Subd. 7. Grandparent visitation. In all proceedings for dissolution or legal separation, after the commencement of the proceeding or at any time after completion of the proceedings, and continuing during the minority of the child, the court may make an order granting visitation rights to grandparents under section 257.022, subdivision 2.

Subd. 8. Care of child by noncustodial parent. The court may allow additional visitation to the noncustodial parent to provide child care while the custodial parent is working if this arrangement is reasonable and in the best interests of the child, as defined in section 518.17, subdivision 1. In addition, the court shall consider:

(1) the ability of the parents to cooperate;

(2) methods for resolving disputes regarding the care of the child, and the parents' willingness to use those methods; and

(3) whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred between the parties.

HIST: 1971 c 172 s 1; 1974 c 107 s 15; 1978 c 772 s 40-42; 1979 c 259 s 18,19; 1982 c 537 s 1; 1986 c 406 s 3; 1986 c 444; 1988 c 668 s 14; 1989 c 248 s 4,5; 1990 c 574 s 15; 1993 c 62 s 2; 1993 c 322 s 9; 1994 c 631 s 31; 1995 c 257 art 1 s 20; 1996 c 391 art 1 s 1,2; 1997 c 239 art 7 s 8,9; 1997 c 245 art 2 s 2

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Revisor of Statutes