Question: What Can You Do If Your Spouse Doesn’t Agree To 50/50 Custody?


So… what can you do if your spouse doesn’t agree to 50/50 physical custody?  First, if we’re going to talk about custody we have to understand that there are two types of custody in Minnesota, legal custody and physical custody and there’s an important distinction between the two.

As I pointed out, legal custody deals specifically with religion, education, and medical decision making.  Now, while most of the time everyone gets joint legal custody, that is not always the case.  In some cases the parents may have different beliefs that conflict with each other, something that can make a custody battle a real “battle” pretty quick.

Physical custody or parenting time is just that.  “It’s how often the kids spend time at your house”, I pointed out, briefly touching on the possibility of sole or joint custody, which can sometimes be an entirely separate issue.  Just remember, whatever you do, don’t ever say that you want 50/50, as this phrase is a red flag and is more commonly used when talking about Child Support.  It is much better to say every other weekend, or two to three nights a week, or whatever you have in mind, but always be specific.

The truth is that a short answer is a shallow one in this case, as every client has a different story to tell, with a different background to back it up, and because of that, there really is no bottom line answer.  There are also two sides to every story, and the way that your spouse feels about the situation can heavily influence the outcome of your case.

So, in short, what can you do if your spouse doesn’t agree to 50/50 custody?  Call your attorney and work out the details, because there is always more to the problem than you realize, and only your attorney can really help you solve the problem.

Jason Kohlmeyer
Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd.
Mankato, Minnesota
507-625-5000 | 

Information obtained in may contain knowledgeable content about Minnesota Family Law that may be considered beneficial to some; however, in no way should this website or its contents be considered legal advice. Mr. Kohlmeyer is a Minnesota licensed Attorney and cannot provide legal services or guidance to those outside of Minnesota. If you wish to retain Mr. Kohlmeyer as your Attorney in your Family Law matter, contact 507-625-5000.

Jason Kohlmeyer

With over 15 years experience in high conflict family law cases, having received numerous awards, and a frequent lecturer through both Minnesota and the United States on family law issues, Jason has decided to help people through a blog, answering some of the most common questions that people have during divorce and family law. cases. Remember this isn't legal advice. Just blog and attempts to answer general questions, for legal advice you need to hire a lawyer. If you're in Minnesota our firm would be happy to see if we can help you.


  1. Hello! I’m curious to know what effect you believe newly enacted HF 2722 may have on requests for increased parenting time?

    Is it correct that prior to HF 2722, it was very difficult for one parent to obtain over 45.1% parenting time as it was viewed as change in custody (due to the fact that it limited the other parent’s parenting time) requiring the requestor to prove a change in circumstance, best interests of the child, and child endangerment for such an increase to be granted?

    Under the language included in HF 2722, it appears that a request to increase one parent’s parenting time to an amount between 45.1% and 54.9% (as long as the child’s primary residence does not change) is no longer considered a restriction of the other parent’s parenting time? The language in HF 2722 also indicates that a modification may be granted if it’s in the best interests of the child.

    Does this mean that a request for modification for parenting time (from about 20% to an amount between 45.1% and 54.9%, if in the best interest of the child) may possibly be granted without the requesting party having to prove a change in circumstance or child endangerment as was previously required?

    Appreciate your thoughts, thank you!

    • Tanya,

      Great question! (and well researched!). Here is my take on the new Minnesota Statute 518.17 (which is what HF2722 turned into).

      In southern Minnesota, 518.17 didn’t really factor in when establishing custody, the Judges often would overlook the the issue about working together.

      The same is true when modifying custody. While 518.17 did discuss what was required to changes of primary residence…often the Judges ignored it and did what they felt was in the kids best interest.

      Overall, it’s a good tweak to the law, but I don’t think it will have much practical impact.

      Thanks for the question.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload the CAPTCHA.