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Minnesota Governor signs new child custody law into effect

Recently, Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton, signed a new bill from the legislature into law, which will impact almost all divorces that involve children. Mainly, the new law redefines the factors a court will consider in determining whether joint custody is appropriate. Importantly, the law states that no presumption favoring or discouraging joint custody should be made unless domestic abuse exists.

In addition, the new law clarifies that parents' inability to agree on custody should not be considered an inability to cooperate. The law also sets out new regulations affecting parenting times with priority given the developmental interests of the child. Importantly, the law only applies during divorce proceedings and would not be applied in a child custody dispute involving non-married parents.

While the sweeping nature of the new law may give some parents considering divorce pause, the law is generally considered a house-cleaning measure to eliminate some minor problems with the previous language used. Nevertheless, parents need to know how these somewhat non-descript changes could affect their specific situation.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to divorce or child custody. Rather, the law sets out a system which guides a court into making the best determination. While the law has been tinkered over the years to ensure it is equitable, it may not always fit a certain scenario. As a result, it is important that parents contact a skilled family law attorney who knows how to work within the system to ensure a positive result.

Nothing is more important to parents after a divorce than their children. The laws governing their relationship are just but can be misinterpreted or applied poorly. Local experts, though, will work tirelessly to ensure that your visitations plans and custody arrangements meet your expectations.

Source: NNC NOW, "New children custody after divorce law," May 7, 2014

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