As discussed in the past on this blog, parents in Minnesota who have gone through a divorce, or are no longer in a relationship with each other, can work together to create a parenting plan, rather than have a court make a child custody and visitation order. However, life rarely stays static and there may be times when a parenting plan needs to be changed to meet the needs of one parent or the other, or to meet the needs of the child. Minnesota statutes recognize this, and address the issue of modification of parenting plans.
Parents who have created a parenting plan can make an agreement that modifies how much time they each spend with the child. They can also make an agreement that modifies the decision-making abilities of each parent. In order for such modifications to be enforceable, they must be approved by the court. Moreover, a modification of the time that each parent has with the child cannot be made more than one year after the entry of the decree unless the parents agree to do so in writing.
When deciding to modify a child custody and parenting plan, the parents can agree — but are not required — to utilize the best interests of the child standard. If the parents do not want to utilize the best interests of the child standard, other statutory provisions will apply.
No one knows where life will take them. That is why the State of Minnesota provides a means through which parents can alter a parenting plan. However, parents must do so through the confines of the law. Any changes made should benefit the child in a positive manner.