Minnesota parents who have gone through, or are anticipating, a child custody battle probably know that Minnesota law currently requires that each parent get at least 25 percent parenting time with their children, unless there are specific reasons for changing that. A new bill passed by the Minnesota legislature this past session would have increased the minimum to 35 percent. However, Governor Dayton recently vetoed the measure.
Supporters of the proposal such as the Center for Parental Responsibility contend that the absence of a presumption that both parents will get similar parenting time brings conflict into a process already rife with intense emotional distress and disruption. Both parents fight hard because they do not want to be what amounts to being the losing parent who gets less time with the kids.
In contrast, opponents of the measure say that Minnesota courts already do a good job of considering the facts of each case and making a sound determination that balances the best interests of the children and parents. For these opponents, providing decision-makers flexibility is preferable to what one calls a "one-size-fits-all idea."
Opponents of the bill include the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Bar and battered women's advocates.
In his veto letter, Governor Dayton justified his decision on the grounds that those individuals and groups who work with the most challenging divorces and their effects on the well-being, and even the safety, of parents and children strongly opposed the proposal. He also expressed concern over the uncertain ramifications that might result if he signed the bill.
Despite vetoing the bill, Governor Dayton pledged to continue working on the issue of child custody reform in the 2013 legislative session.
Source: Minnesota Public Radio, "Dayton vetoes bill that would have given divorced parents more presumed custody," Sasha Aslanian, May 24, 2012