Old factor: the child's primary caretaker; New factor: the history and nature of each parent's participation in providing care for the child. Previously, when tasked with decisions regarding child custody and parenting time, Minnesota courts engaged in a two-step … Not only does this allow the court to consider all ongoing relationships in a child’s life, including relationships with people not previously enumerated in the statute, but the new factor also eliminates the requirement that the court consider the length and permanency of the custody arraignment. All rights reserved. Old Factors: (1) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child; (2) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests; (3) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity; and (4) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home. This is a subtle reminder to the parties that their interests are secondary to the interests of the child. This new wording incorporates several of the old factors into one much more general factor. This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged. For a free initial consultation, contact us today. Under Minnesota law (MN Statutes Sec. Old factor: The reasonable preferences of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference; New factor: the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference. The new wording gives the court leeway in determining when a child is mature enough to weigh his or her options, if the child is capable of forming an opinion, and if the child is able to adequately express his or her own opinion on where and with whom he or she wants to live. These new factors are important because they instruct the court, in every case, to consider the capability of the parties to co-parent, their willingness to resolve disputes without court intervention, and their ability to foster and encourage positive relationships between their child and their co-parent. Old Factors: (1) except in cases in which a finding of domestic abuse as defined in section. The new factor preserves the court’s concern for whether or not domestic abuse is occurring or has occurred in the home; however, the new wording emphasizes that the court’s focus should be on how domestic abuse affects the child at issue. The new statute scheme maintains the old statute’s focus on a wide array of issues that attribute to the overall well-being of the child, while updating the factors to reflect and eliminate problems that were previously unaddressed. Although courts often took chemical health into account, this change codifies that ongoing chemical dependency can and should have an effect on a parent’s custody and parenting time. A judge cannot look at one or two factors and ignore the rest; judges must apply all 13 factors, including: New and Improved - the Best Interest Standard for Child Custody in MN, 612-436-7100 (Mpls) 720-949-7574 (Den). The first step involved weighing 13 “best interest” factors.. New factor: whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred in the parents' or either parent's household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child's safety, well-being, and developmental needs. New Factors:  (1) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent; (2) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child's relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent; and (3) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child. New factor: The effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community. Official Publication of the State of Minnesota Revisor of Statutes 1 MINNESOTA STATUTES 2020 518.17 Although the wording of the statute has changed, a parent’s role in caring for a child, in all of its forms, will remain central to the court’s custody analysis. Old factor:  the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, as defined in section. Minnesota’s New “Best Interest Factors” for Child Custody. Specifically, these factors are as follows: Importantly, this factor now includes a provision regarding parental follow through on their scheduled parenting time. (a) In evaluating the best interests of the child for purposes of determining issues of custody and parenting time, the court must consider and evaluate all relevant factors, including: (1) a child's physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child's needs and development; The second new factor focuses not on the health of all individuals involved, as it did previously, but rather on the health of the child and, crucially, a parent’s ability to access help in addressing those needs. In Minnesota, child custody determinations are made by determining what is best for the child. While a finding of domestic abuse had previously served as a hurdle for parents seeking custody or parenting time, this new wording suggests that a court may engage in a more nuanced analysis of the situation.