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Minnesota

Chapter Title: MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION
Section: 518.17
Text:
 518.17 Custody and support of children on judgment.
    Subdivision 1. The best interests of the child. (a)
 "The best interests of the child" means all relevant factors to
 be considered and evaluated by the court including:
    The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all
 others.  The primary caretaker factor may not be used as a
 presumption in determining the best interests of the child.  The
 court must make detailed findings on each of the factors and
 explain how the factors led to its conclusions and to the
 determination of the best interests of the child.
    (b) The court shall not consider conduct of a proposed
 custodian that does not affect the custodian's relationship to
 the child.
    Subd. 2. Factors when joint custody is sought. In
 addition to the factors listed in subdivision 1, where either
 joint legal or joint physical custody is contemplated or sought,
 the court shall consider the following relevant factors:
    (a) The ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of
 their children;
    (b) Methods for resolving disputes regarding any major
 decision concerning the life of the child, and the parents'
 willingness to use those methods;
    (c) Whether it would be detrimental to the child if one
 parent were to have sole authority over the child's upbringing;
 and
    (d) Whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01,
 has occurred between the parents.
    The court shall use a rebuttable presumption that upon
 request of either or both parties, joint legal custody is in the
 best interests of the child.  However, the court shall use a
 rebuttable presumption that joint legal or physical custody is
 not in the best interests of the child if domestic abuse, as
 defined in section 518B.01, has occurred between the parents.
    If the court awards joint legal or physical custody over
 the objection of a party, the court shall make detailed findings
 on each of the factors in this subdivision and explain how the
 factors led to its determination that joint custody would be in
 the best interests of the child.
518.1705 Parenting plans.
    Subd. 2. Plan elements. (a) A parenting plan must
 include the following:
    (1) a schedule of the time each parent spends with the
 child;
    (2) a designation of decision-making responsibilities
 regarding the child; and
    (3) a method of dispute resolution.
    (b) A parenting plan may include other issues and matters
 the parents agree to regarding the child.
    (c) Parents voluntarily agreeing to parenting plans may
 substitute other terms for physical and legal custody, including
 designations of joint or sole custody, provided that the terms
 used in the substitution are defined in the parenting plan.
    Subd. 3. Creating parenting plan; restrictions on
 creation; alternative. (a) Upon the request of both parents,
 a parenting plan must be created in lieu of an order for child custody and parenting time unless the court makes detailed  findings that the proposed plan is not in the best interests of  the child.
    (b) If both parents do not agree to a parenting plan, the
 court may create one on its own motion, except that the court
 must not do so if it finds that a parent has committed domestic
 abuse against a parent or child who is a party to, or subject
 of, the matter before the court.  If the court creates a
 parenting plan on its own motion, it must not use alternative
 terminology unless the terminology is agreed to by the parties.
    (c) If an existing order does not contain a parenting plan,
 the parents must not be required to create a parenting plan as
 part of a modification order under section 518.64.
    (d) A parenting plan must not be required during an action
 under section 256.87.
    (e) If the parents do not agree to a parenting plan and the
 court does not create one on its own motion, orders for custody
 and parenting time must be entered under sections 518.17 and
 518.175 or section 257.541, as applicable.


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