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Joint Physical Custody Study Group Report Now Available

Posted: Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"What Are the Implications of Presumptive Joint Physical Custody for Families in Minnesota?"

The Minnesota Legislature directed the State Court Administrator to convene a study group to consider the impact that creation of a new presumption of joint physical custody in state statute would have on parents and children - both positive and negative - in Minnesota. 

Minnesota Joint Physical Child Custody Study Group Report (Jan. 14, 2009)

The Study Group solicited written comments, which were due Nov. 14, on the following questions: 

  1. Should there be a change in Minnesota's custody laws to favor a presumption of joint physical custody?
  2. What are the pros and cons of the state adopting a presumption of joint physical custody in law?

In addressing the questions, respondents tried to include reference to the following areas of concern.

  1. Impact on best interests of children of adopting such a presumption
  2. Impact on custodial and non-custodial mothers of adopting such a presumption
  3. Implications for cases involving domestic violence
  4. Impact on custodial and non-custodial fathers and father involvement of such a presumption
  5. Impact on custodial and non-custodial parents from diverse communities and/or socio-economic status
  6. Financial impact of adopting such a presumption

The Study Group reviewed written submissions as part of their final deliberations:

Written Submissions for Joint Physical Custody

Written Submissions Against Joint Physical Custody

Written Submissions Neither for Nor Against Joint Physical Custody 

STUDY LANGUAGE


Excerpted from Minn. Laws 2008, Chapter 299

Sec. 25. JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY; STUDY GROUP.
    (a) The state court administrator shall convene a study group of 12 members to consider the impact that a presumption of joint physical custody would have in Minnesota. The evaluation must consider the positive and negative impact on parents and children of adopting a presumption of joint physical custody, the fiscal impact of adopting this presumption, and the experiences of other states that have adopted a presumption of joint physical custody. The study must consider data and information from academic
and research professionals.
    (b) In appointing members to the study group, the state court administrator must ensure that the viewpoint of parent advocacy groups, academics, policy analysts, judges, court administrators, attorneys, domestic violence advocates, citizen members who are not associated with a parent advocacy group, and other interested parties are represented.
At least one member of the study group must be a representative of the Department of Human Services. The state court administrator must consult with the chairs and ranking minority members of the budget and policy committees in the house and senate with jurisdiction over family law on the composition of the working group. The state court administrator shall report to the legislature on the evaluation of presumption of joint physical custody, the experiences of other states, and recommendations made by the study group no later than January 15, 2009.