Custody is often the most emotional aspect of a Minnesota divorce. While some couples inherently agree that their children are better off living with just one parent, others bicker endlessly over parenting time. These spats can be minimized, in part, by a better understanding of how custody works in the state of Minnesota. Below, we review a few basic ideas you should understand before proceeding with custody negotiations:
Types of Custody
First, it’s important to understand custody categories. As in many states, Minnesota divides the concept into two main branches: physical and legal custody.
Physical custody is probably what you picture when you think of custody. In Minnesota, this term refers to where the child resides and who makes day-to-day decisions about routine activities.
Legal custody involves major decisions about the child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing. Many Minnesota parents split legal custody but designate a sole physical custodian.
While parents with multiple children often maintain similar custody plans, arrangements could realistically be different for each child.
How Is Custody Determined In Minnesota?
Some parents determine custody on their own through mediation. Many, however, defer to the state’s court system. Minnesota courts focus on the best interests of the child — a surprisingly complicated concept that can take several factors into account. These include:
- The child’s physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.
- Special needs regarding physical or mental health.
- The child’s preferences.
- The presence of abuse in the child’s household.
- The child’s relationships with parents, siblings, and other family members.
Clearly, no two Minnesota custody cases look exactly alike. As you strive for a positive outcome, think carefully about each child’s best interests.
At this difficult time, you can lean on the law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for support. You’ll never doubt that we care about your family. Call (763) 783-5146 today to schedule a case consultation.