How Do I Get Child Visitation in Minnesota?

When you file for divorce in Minnesota, you still want to spend adequate time with your child. That relationship is incredibly important to both you and your child, and you want to ensure that you have adequate time to spend with them.

Pursuing child visitation in Minnesota will help you set up a legal standard for the time you should spend with your child. Minnesota law assumes that each parent will get to spend at least 25% of their timewith the child.

As you pursue visitation, however, you may find that your unique circumstances, including the needs of the child and the other parent, can present a unique challenge.

Filing in the Minnesota Courts

In order to file for visitation in the Minnesota court system, the child must have resided in Minnesota with a parent–or someone caring for them as a parent–for at least 6 months, or 180 days. You may choose to file sooner if you have emergency concerns related to custody or visitation. If you live in Minnesota, but your child does not, you may need to petition for visitation in the state where your child resides. Once you have reached the 180-day residence requirement, you will:

  • File a Summons to Establish Custody and Parenting Time form and file it with the court. This lets the child’s other parent know that you have begun legal action to establish custody.
  • Fill out the Petition to Establish Custody and Parenting Time form. This will provide the court with vital information about you, the child, and the other parent as well as establishing what you plan to ask from the court with regards to parenting time or custody.
  • Fill out and file the Affidavit in Support of Establishing Custody and Parenting Time. This will help establish exactly what you expect or want from the court and the child’s other parent.
  • Serve notice to the other parent.
  • Fill out the Affidavit of Service form, which provides valuable evidence that the form was filed with the court.
  • File the documents with the court.

Once all the documents are filled out, you can go to court to discuss your visitation and custody arrangements.

Can an Attorney Help?

In some cases, you and the child’s other parent may be able to come to an agreement between yourselves about how you want to handle custody and visitation. In other cases, however, you may struggle to find a resolution that works for both of you.

An attorney can help provide mediation services that will help you make a better decision for you and your child as well as helping you fight for custody or visitation rights if the child’s other parent attempts to block you from seeing the child.

Working with an attorney, even if you have a usually smooth relationship with your child’s other parent, can also help you avoid unforeseen roadblocks and challenges along the way. The attorney can also help ensure that all forms are filled out correctly and that you have properly submitted your petition to the court.

Things to Consider as You Determine Visitation

In Minnesota, the court’s goal is to allow both parents to be involved with their children as much as possible. While one parent is often awarded primary custody of the child, the other parent will receive parenting, or visitation, time with the child. As you create your parenting plan, there are several things to keep in mind.

  • What will work best for the child? How can you accommodate the child’s needs during this difficult process?
  • Are there holidays that are particularly important to one parent, but not necessarily the other?
  • Do you have a plan in place for handling visitation as the child gets older? Have you considered sports, weekend visits to friends’ homes, camps, and other activities that the child may enjoy?

A parenting plan does not necessarily have to be permanent. If you have an existing plan that no longer works for your child or for you and you and the child’s other partner, you can petition the courts to change the visitation arrangement. In order to avoid going back to court, however, you may need to file

Do you need more help constructing or filing a request for visitation? Contact us today to learn how we can help.