Cortney E. Whitehouse, Esquire, Bloch & Whitehouse, P.A., 8120 Penn Avenue South, Suite 550, Bloomington, Minnesota 55431, (952) 224-9977, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.blochandwhitehouse.com
What was once called “visitation,” is now known as “parenting time.” Like custody, the Court asks what is in the best interests of the minor children when it determines parenting time and typically hones in on the age of the children, caretaker patterns that the children have grown accustomed to and factors such as chemical health, mental health and domestic abuse in its analysis.
Minnesota law provides that most parents are entitled to at least 25% of the parenting time, which is typically determined by counting overnights.
It further provides that, upon the request of a parent, a Court Order for parenting time must specify a regular, holiday and vacation parenting time schedule. I meet with many folks who feel that a specific parenting time schedule is not necessary because they feel like they can work it out. While sometimes painful to consider, I caution them to look to the future where their ex-spouse has a new significant other with his or her own traditions and/or children and the impact that that may have on the ability to work things out. I see too many cases with no schedule post-divorce. In my view, it is better to set a specific schedule and choose not to follow it than to be without a schedule in the midst of a Christmas Eve dispute and have nothing to fall back on.