Nearly a year into Minnesota’s new best interest factors, you’d be think there’d be nothing left to say.
But eleven months into the new law, and the Court of Appeals has offered little more than different iterations of the same canned footnote:
Minn.Stat. § 518.17 (2014) was substantially amended by 2015 Minn. Laws ch. 30, art. 1, §§ 3–5. The district court decided this case under the earlier version of the statute. Because the language of the statute does not contain clear evidence of retroactive intent, the amendments are not relevant to this appeal. See Minn.Stat. § 645.21 (2014) (“No law shall be construed to be retroactive unless clearly and manifestly so intended by the legislature.”); K.E. v. Hoffman, 452 N.W.2d 509, 512 (Minn.App.1990) (holding that statute applicable to “all cases pending” had retroactive effect and applied to case on appeal, as a “pending” action), review denied (Minn. May 7, 1990).
The rest of us are left to wonder, giving me an excuse (if I needed one) to spill several thousand more words prognosticating.
With the support of an excellent editorial staff at Mitchell Hamline School of Law, I’ve spent the last several months preparing a comprehensive review of the new best interest factors, with citations to secondary sources and informative (if now legislatively superseded) case law.
Lucky for me, I still beat the Court of Appeals.
The entire article, available here, weighs in at 24 single-spaced pages and 154 footnotes, and begins with a (relatively) brief review of Minnesota’s winding road from tender-years to primary caregiver to best interests. It then dives into the nearly decade-long legislative debate that brought us the 2015 custody and parenting time amendments, before walking factor-by-factor through the new law with case citations and practice pointers.