Generally, parenting time compassess all the time a non-custodial parent has with his or her children. Parenting time is the updated version of the term “visitation,” the outdated term North Dakota statutes used to call that time, and is a term many people still use.
In North Dakota, parenting time can be determined one of two ways: 1) by a judge; or 2) by the parties’ agreement.
Courts encourage families to resolve parenting time disagreements through mediation or direct negotiation. Duking it out in court is very expensive and often damages parenting relationships.
Establishing a "reasonable" parenting schedule and guideline should be a priority for both parents. Both must cooperate and be flexible for the kids’ sake. North Dakota courts today want parenting time orders to include specific and detailed schedules rather than loose references to "reasonable" or "liberal" visitation. A fixed visitation schedule helps avoid future and unforeseen complications.
If the parties can’t agree on a schedule, the court will impose one based on its view of the best interests of the children. The “best interests of the child” are articulated through a number of factors, all written into North Dakota law.
Courts can only deny or restrict parenting time if there is persuasive evidence it won’t serve a child’s best interests. If the court finds a sufficient danger or risk exists—for example, the non-custodial parent has committed domestic violence or has active chemical dependency problems—it may restrict parenting time as to the time, place, or duration. It might even require supervision. Only as a last resort will the court deny parenting time entirely.
Like residential responsibility, parenting time is modifiable by the parties’ agreement or by court order. Parenting time may be modified when the parties’ or the kids’ circumstances change.
Yes! Court orders can be changed either through a judge’s order or by the parties’ agreement. Courts will modify parenting plans if the moving party can demonstrate a change of circumstances since entry of the last order, if a change is in the child’s best interests.
Our office uses special calendaring software. Among other things, this software allows us to print out, in calendar form, every parenting time scheme imaginable. Accordingly, we can now provide our clients a color-coded calendar for the entire year (or beyond) showing when the children will be with each parent. The calendar includes start and end times for regular holiday and summer parenting times. Each parent can simply post the calendar on his or her fridge and both will know exactly when the children will be with mom and when they will be with dad. The calendar can also be used as a journal to record parenting time events, good or bad, as they occur. Our fee for providing this service is quite reasonable.
One idea is to structure a parenting time schedule requiring exchanges to occur at natural transition points during the day, such as having the other parent pick up the children from school or daycare, rather than from your home. Another is to use Rainbow Bridge Safe Exchange/Visitation Center, which offers a positive, safe, child friendly and neutral site where children and parents can be assured a supervised visitation or exchange will be safe and conflict free. All services provided by Rainbow Bridge are confidential. Rainbow Bridge is located at 715 North 11th Street, Suite 101, in Moorhead, Minnesota. You can reach Rainbow Bridge at (218) 299-7694 or 1 (800) 452-3646, ext. 7694.
Yes! Court orders can be changed either through a Judge’s order or by the parties’ agreement. Courts will modify parenting plans if the moving party can demonstrate a change of circumstances since entry of the last order, and if a change is in the child’s best interests.
Most likely, yes! A parent wrongfully deprived of their parenting time will sometimes be awarded “compensatory” (make up) time. In addition, a parent who wrongfully obstructs the other’s parenting time can be found “in contempt” and be punished for it. It is very important to document your attempts to exercise your parenting time to prove the denied time (e.g. text messages or emails).
Yes. Sometimes. Both North Dakota and Minnesota allow grandparents to obtain a Court Order allowing reasonable visitation with grandchildren. The grandparents do have a burden of proof, though. The grandparents must prove that visitation (1) will be in the best interests of the children and (2) will not interfere with the relationship between the children and their parents. The Courts generally believe that children benefit from a relationship with extended family members. Accordingly, they are usually receptive to a grandparent's request for visitation.