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

two people fighting gove custody.

Custody Disputes…What To Do?

Updated: Feb 2024

Navigating the tricky waters of custody agreements  with your spouse? Well, let’s break it down and talk about what to do . In Minnesota, when we talk custody, there are two types we’re dealing with: legal and physical custody, each with its own nuances and definitions.

Starting with legal custody, this concerns the major decisions in your child’s life, including education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. While it’s common for parents to share these responsibilities, differing beliefs can turn these discussions into full-blown disputes pretty quickly.

Physical Custody

Physical custody, on the other hand, is all about where the kids spend their time. Whether it’s alternating weekends or a few nights each week, the arrangements can vary.

A heads-up though: avoid mentioning “50/50” custody right off the bat. It’s a term that can raise eyebrows, especially since it often pops up in discussions about child support. Instead, be precise about the schedule you envision; it helps keep things clear.

As a fun little bit of trivia, the law changed back in 2017-2018 and the label Physical Custody doesn’t mean much these days, it doesn’t have any impact on child support or custody or moving, which leads me to the next topic…

Parenting Time

What most people say when they say they want “equal custody” is equal parenting time. We don’t use the term “visitation” anymore instead it’s Parenting Time. This means precisely  when will you have your kids?

Is it every other weekend, a 2-2-3 split? Maybe week on week off? or how about 2-2-5?

Truth be told, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer here. Every family’s story is unique, with its own set of dynamics and backgrounds, making a straightforward solution elusive.

Remember, there are always two sides to consider, and your spouse’s perspective can significantly influence the outcome of your custody arrangement, so try and think about what you want but also can you come up with a solution that your spouse can live with?

Ok, I Tried And My Ex Won’t Do a 50-50 Parenting Time Arrangement, What Now?

So, what to do if an even split of custody isn’t looking likely? It’s time to get your attorney on the line.

It might be getting an expert, called a custody evaluator, onboard to try and see what is really in the children’s best interest. It might be trying to get creative on labels, for example, maybe your Ex demands the phrase “Sole Physical Custody

Next, perhaps you want to consider a Motion For Temporary Relief, this can often times get the issue infront of the Judge and try and see what they are going to order!

While the insights shared here aim to shed some light on Minnesota Family Law, they’re no substitute for legal advice. For personalized guidance or to explore your options further, reaching out to a legal expert is always a wise choice.

Information obtained in mankatofamilylaw.com 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.

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Comments 3
  1. Great advice regarding the necessity of being direct (but specific) when discussing guardianship. Thanks for sharing.

  2. 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!

    1. 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.


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