In May, we wrote about a complicated custody issue between actress Sofia Vergara and her ex-fiance Nick Loeb (The fault lies not in the stars, but in custody and contract laws). In fact, it is complicated enough that part of the debate centers on whether it is a question about custody at all -- for some, it is a fight over property.
We are continuing our discussion of the law change that took effective Aug. 1. Senate Bill 1191 reshapes how Minnesota courts approach child custody decisions. The differences may seem small, but they reflect a more modern understanding of family dynamics, children's relationships with their parents, and a family's experience with the court system. The focus in custody decisions is still the best interest of the child. The new law recognizes that we are well past the days of Ward and June Cleaver and Ozzie and Harriet.
After three years of meetings, research and more meetings, the Minnesota Legislature was finally successful in its efforts to revamp the state's approach to custody and parenting time. In May, Gov. Mark Dayton signed SF 1191 into law, and on Aug. 1 the new law went into effect.
We are discussing a case from Michigan that may challenge many people's understanding of the best interests of the child doctrine. In most states, including Minnesota, a court must take a number of factors into consideration when making child custody and visitation (parenting time) decisions. Generally, no one factor outweighs the others; the doctrine is a holistic approach to custody, not a checklist.
Family law practitioners around the country are watching as a custody case in Michigan moves forward. Earlier this summer, the judge in the matter entered an unconventional order that has also garnered the attention of domestic violence victims' advocates. While the situation has changed since then, the underlying custody dispute continues.