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Many parents can figure out parenting time on their own

Minnesota state law allows parenting time to separated or divorcing parents who request it. Also known as visitation time, parenting time gives the noncustodial parent the right to spend time bonding with their children when the custodial parent has been granted sole child custody.

In many states, as with other legal matters, the judge would prefer that the parties settle their differences themselves. Thus, when parents are getting divorced, and shared custody is not likely or appropriate, the judge may determine that the noncustodial parent shall receive “reasonable visitation.”

This means that, instead of imposing a custody and parenting time arrangement, the court will leave it up to the parents to negotiate a plan. If the parents are able to work together to this extent, a custody arrangement they crafted themselves is more likely to be one they both can accept.

However, often it is the custodial parent that has most of the leverage, so the noncustodial parent may need to seek a fixed visitation schedule from the court. This means the judge orders when the parenting time is to take place, for example every other weekend. If the relationship between the divorcing spouses is especially bad, the judge may also order the location where the custody transfers are to take place.

Of course, the first priority in child custody and parenting time matters is the affected child’s best interests. That usually, but not always, means spending at least some time with both parents. But parents often can have a big say in what “the child’s best interests” means.

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