Under Minnesota Statute §518.175, subdivision 6, courts appeared to lack the authority to grant make up parenting time in appropriate cases due to the way the statute used the word denial. The statute’s use of ‘denial’ seemed to contemplate an intentional denial of parenting time. A related issue was that the courts did not seem to seriously penalize parties for repeated and intentional denials of parenting time.
The new law addresses this problem by first providing statutory authorization for a grant of compensatory parenting time when a substantial amount of court ordered parenting time has been made unavailable unless the compensatory parenting time requested was not in the child’s best interests.
Second, the law now requires courts to grant compensatory parenting time when a denial of court ordered parenting time is repeated and intentional.
Third, the law requires courts to grant at least one of the enhanced penalties outlined in subdivision 6(d), which includes civil penalties and attorney’s fees, if the court finds that a party has repeatedly and intentionally denied parenting time after a previous order finding the have repeatedly and intentionally denied parenting time.
Fourth, the law allows a defense that a denial of parenting time was necessary to protect a child’s physical or emotional health.