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“Parenting time” is the expression that is used by the courts to describe the time a child spends in the care of either parent. The previous term, “visitation”, only applied to the parent that didn’t have physical custody.
In each custody case there will be a parenting plan or order for custody and parenting time as set out in state law. (Minnesota Statutes, §§518.1705, 518.175 or 257.541.) In any case, a plan or order will set out
a) a schedule when each parent spends time with the child;
b) a delineation of responsibilities for decision making regarding the child;
c) a way of resolving disputes;
d) other issues and matters on which the parents may agree;
e) the parents may agree to substitute other terms for physical custody, legal custody, joint or sole custody as long as the terms are defined in the parenting plan; and
f) if the parents agree, in addition to child support a parenting plan can provide for allocation of a child’s expenses as part of a parenting plan.
Many factors must be considered in making a workable parenting plan. In some cases a court may inform a child of the child’s rights in the proceeding. Minnesota Statutes, §518.175, subd. 2. In other cases a parent may wish to restrict the parenting time of the other parent. Supervised parenting time can be ordered, especially if there has been domestic abuse. Minnesota Statutes, §518.175, subd. 1a.
Once a parenting plan has been adopted it may be modified, but only subject to real limitations imposed by statute. Minnesota Statutes, §518.18. It is very difficult, absent special circumstances, to modify custody within 1 year after a decree. The proponent of a custody change must show a willful and persistent interference with parenting time or show that the child’s present environment endangers the child’s physical or emotional health or imperil the child’s emotional development.