When parents of minor children divorce, they will generally agree to a specific parenting time (visitation) schedule between the parents and the minor children, of if they cannot agree, the court will generally set a specific parenting time schedule. However, as children grow up and circumstances change, the parenting time schedule initially ordered may no longer work for the parents and the minor child. It is possible to modify the parenting time order. If the parents both agree to the modification, they may submit a stipulation to the court modifying the parenting time schedule to make the modification enforceable. If the parents are not in agreement to the modification, the parent proposing the modification must show that the modification is in the child’s best interest.
If the parents cannot agree on the modification, the parent proposing the modification must file a motion with the court. If the modification of the parenting time schedule is not substantial, a full evidentiary hearing (trial) is not required and the matter will be decided by the court based on the written submissions of the parties and their arguments at a motion hearing.
However, if the modification is substantial, a full evidentiary hearing is required. If the proposed parenting time modification is so substantial that it would change the child’s primary residence, the party proposing the change must establish one of the grounds for changing custody. That parent must establish that there has been a change of circumstances that has arisen since the prior parenting time order and that modification of the parenting time schedule is necessary to serve the best interests of the child. For more information about the grounds for modifying custody, please visit our blog post Modification of Custody in Minnesota.
If the proposed modification amounts to a restriction of parenting time, the court may not grant the modification unless it finds that (1) parenting time is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health or impair the child’s emotion development (without the proposed restriction) or (2) the parent has chronically and unreasonably failed to comply with court ordered parenting time schedule. If a parent makes specific allegations that parenting time by the other parent places the parent or child in danger or harm, the court must hold a hearing at the earliest possible time to determine the necessity of modifying the parenting time order.
Because of the varying legal standards for modifying parenting time depending on the modification proposed, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney. To speak with an attorney experienced with parenting time modification, contact Tentinger Law Firm at 952-953-3330 or use our quick contact form.