By not signing the bill, Dayton effectively vetoed it.
The bill passed on the last night of the legislative session and had been sitting on Dayton’s desk for a few weeks. It was opposed by the Family Law Section of the Minnesota State Bar Association, but many family law judges and lawyers did testify in support of it.
The bill was a stripped down version of the original bill that changed the presumption to joint, physical custody for both parents in a divorce. That bill was introduced early in the session and was changed several times after objections from lawmakers and a fiscal study that determined the change could wind up costing the courts millions.
Opponents of the bill said it would not only cost the courts money, but also lead to more, lengthy custody fights during divorces because the allocation of parenting time is used to calculate spousal support.
Dayton said both sides made good arguments, and encouraged supporters to reintroduce the idea next session, but in the end he said there was too much uncertainty surrounding how the law would affect children.
“People and parties on both sides of the legislation share the same good faith intentions rooted in their shared desire to proscribe what will be best for every parent and, especially, every child ensnared in the painful dissolution of a marriage,” Dayton wrote. “Torn between the persuasive arguments of both proponents and opponents of the legislation, I am particularly influenced by the strong opposition of so many organizations (although not all of their members), who work every day with the most challenging divorces and their effects on the well-being, and even the safety, of parents and children.”