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S.F. No. 1295 - Child care authorizations for parenting time clarification
Author: Senator Karin Housley
Prepared By: Patrick Hauswald, Senate Counsel (651/296-5079)
Date: February 25, 2019


S.F. No. 1295 amends the provisions for child care assistance to accommodate a change to a recipient’s court-ordered parenting time schedule and establishes legal standards and criteria by which courts determine parenting time schedules.

Section 1 (119B.095, subdivision 2, paragraph (e)) requires a county to increase the amount of child care authorized for a parent participating in MFIP or DWP, if the parent’s need for increased child care is due to increased parenting time by court order.

Section 2 (119B.095, subdivision 3) prohibits child care providers from being reimbursed with child care assistance payments for absence days that are a result of the child being temporarily absent from the parent’s home and in the custody of the child’s other parent. The parent of the absent child must comply with the requirement to report changes to a custody schedule in order to receive child care assistance. Parents of a child who are not members of the same household are not prohibited from using the same child care provider.

Section 3 (256P.07, subdivision 6, paragraph (a)) amends the requirement to report changes to a custody schedule in order to receive child care assistance to require parents to report alterations to parenting time awarded by a court.

Section 4 (518.175, subdivision 1) amends the general legal standards courts apply to determine parenting time during a dissolution proceeding.

Paragraph (a) requires courts to use a rebuttable presumption that protecting the child’s relationship with each parent by maximizing the child’s time with each parent is in the best interests of the child.

Paragraph (b) adds endangering a child’s mental health as a basis to restrict parenting time. The paragraph removes the requirement for a court to consider the child’s age and relationship with the parent before beginning a proceeding to alter parenting time.

Paragraph (e) replaces the term “visitation” with “parenting time” and requires an order for parenting time to include a schedule for school breaks.

Paragraph (g) sets the rebuttable presumption that a court will award each parent 50% of a child’s parenting time. For cases where a 50%-50% split is not practicable, a court must set parenting time as close to 50%-50% as possible.

Paragraph (h) requires that a court’s parenting time order include the following:

(1) each parent’s ability to comply with the parenting time schedule;

(2) written findings of fact supported by clear and convincing evidence that a deviation from the 50%-50% presumption is supported by a parent’s diagnosed but untreated mental health issue; a parent’s untreated substance abuse issue; domestic abuse between the parents or between a parent and the child; a parent’s inability to accommodate 50% parenting time due to conflicts with work, school, medical issues, or child care; a parent’s repeated willful failure to care for a child during court-ordered parenting time; an impractical distance between parent’s residences; or the child’s diagnosed medical or educational special need that cannot be accommodated by a 50%-50% parenting time schedule.

Paragraph (i) requires a court to consider that reducing a parent’s parenting time may have negative impacts on the child, when determining whether to deviate from the rebuttable presumption that equal parenting time is in the best interests of the child.

Paragraph (j) permits a court to order a parenting time schedule that gradually increases the child’s time with a parent, for children that are younger than one year old, or that do not have a relationship with the parent due to the parent’s extended willful absence. The order providing for a gradual increase in parenting time may not last longer than six months and must then be replaced with an order providing a schedule based on the rebuttable presumption that equal parenting time is in the best interests of the child.

Paragraph (k) prohibits a court from limiting parenting time based solely on the child’s age. For parents of children that are younger than five years old at the time of the parenting time order, the order must include a provision to possibly modify the parenting time order in the future.

Paragraph (l) prohibits a court from considering a parent’s gender or marital status when determining parenting time.

Paragraph (m) clarifies that a parenting time award of up to a 53%-47% split does not violate the rebuttable presumption that equal parenting time is in the best interests of the child.

Paragraph (n) requires the court to consider, when awarding parenting time, whether either parent has interfered with the child's relationship with the other parent, whether either parent has made false allegations of abuse by the other parent, and whether either parent has manipulated parenting time in order to gain an advantage in custody proceedings.

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