The best interest factors considered by the Court in its custody and/or parenting time determinations are listed below. A child’s preference may be considered, depending on his/her age and the situation. The issue of domestic abuse and the parents’ physical and mental health as well as their involvement and willingness to parent are also considered.
If you have questions concerning these Best Interest Factors, please call an experienced custody and family law attorney at Felix Law Office, P.A. at 952-894-8380.
In evaluating the best interests of the child for purposes of determining issues of custody and parenting time, the court must consider and evaluate all relevant factors, including:
(1) a child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development;
(2) any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services; new text end
(3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference; new text end
(4) whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred in the parents’ or either parent’s household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs; new text end
(5) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs; new text end
new text begin (6) the history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child; new text end
(7) the willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child; to meet the child’s ongoing developmental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs; and to maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time; new text end
(8) the effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community; new text end
(9) the effect of the proposed arrangements on the ongoing relationships between the child and each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life; new text end
(10) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent; new text end
(11) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent;
(12) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child.
(b) Clauses (1) to (9) govern the application of the best interests of the child factors by the court:
1) The court must make detailed findings on each of the factors in paragraph (a) based on the evidence presented and explain how each factor led to its conclusions and to the determination of custody and parenting time. The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others, and the court shall consider that the factors may be interrelated.
(2) The court shall consider that it is in the best interests of the child to promote the child’s healthy growth and development through safe, stable, nurturing relationships between a child and both parents.
(3) The court shall consider both parents as having the capacity to develop and sustain nurturing relationships with their children unless there are substantial reasons to believe otherwise. In assessing whether parents are capable of sustaining nurturing relationships with their children, the court shall recognize that there are many ways that parents can respond to a child’s needs with sensitivity and provide the child love and guidance, and these may differ between parents and among cultures.
(4) The court shall not consider conduct of a party that does not affect the party’s relationship with the child.
(5) Disability alone, as defined in section 363A.03, of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child.
(6) The court shall consider evidence of a violation of section 609.507 in determining the best interests of the child.
(7) There is no presumption for or against joint physical custody, except as provided in clause (9).
(8) Joint physical custody does not require an absolutely equal division of time. new text end
(9) 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 custody or joint 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. In determining whether the presumption is rebutted, the court shall consider the nature and context of the domestic abuse and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs. Disagreement alone over whether to grant sole or joint custody does not constitute an inability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their children as referenced in paragraph (a), clause (12).
(c) In a proceeding involving the custodial responsibility of a service member’s child, a court may not consider only a parent’s past deployment or possible future deployment in determining the best interests of the child. For purposes of this paragraph, “custodial responsibility” has the meaning given in section 518E.102, paragraph (f).