In Minnesota, how to arrange child custody and visitation often depends on what is best for each family. The child’s best interests are top priority, but the parents’ desires and needs must also be woven into the plan. For example, not every noncustodial parent is able to have parenting time on weekends, perhaps because they work long hours on Saturdays and Sundays.
Many people believe that judges grant physical custody to too many mothers at the expense of fathers. That could be the impetus behind a bill in the Nebraska Legislature that would narrow the ability of family court judges to determine child custody based on the evidence before them.
The bill would presume that all parents should share custody by a 65/35 percent split in most cases. According to an article about the bill, only when there are “circumstances” that make this arrangement inappropriate would judges be allowed to deviate from this track. The story does not go into detail about what “circumstances” the bill includes, but perhaps a parent being physically, mentally or sexually abusive would be grounds to deny him or her 59 hours of visitation time per week.
The bill’s sponsor said that child custody decisions impact more than the parents. She noted that the less visitation time a parent receives, the less often the child’s relatives on that side will see him or her as well. She said that many grandmothers have called her office to complain that they never see their grandchildren, because their sons only get their kids one weekend a month.
The “fathers’ rights” movement has had a growing influence in many states. It remains to be seen if Minnesota lawmakers will amend the law to reflect that movement’s opinions.