Chapter Title: MARRIAGE DISSOLUTION
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
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
(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;
(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
(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.