Custody disputes are some of the most intense, emotional cases we handle. Here we provide basic information concerning custody and parenting time issues in Minnesota divorce and paternity cases:
- Legal Custody: Involves the key decisions made on behalf of a child in terms of education, religion and medical needs. The presumption is that parents will share joint legal custody. This presumption may be overcome by demonstrating an inability to communicate or a history of domestic abuse.
- Physical Custody: Involves the day to day care and decision making on behalf a child. The presumption is that one parent will be awarded sole physical custody. This presumption may be overcome by demonstrating that both parents have played a substantial role in the upbringing of a child.
- Parenting Time: If one parent is awarded sole physical custody of a child, the other parent (the non-custodial parent) will be awarded parenting time with the child. The presumption is that a non-custodial parent will have at least 25% of the available time with a child.
- Custody Evaluation: If the parties are unable to resolve the custody and parenting time issues by agreement, a custody evaluation may occur. The evaluator will meet with the parties, meet with the child, speak with collateral sources, conduct psychological testing and issue a written report addressing all of the relevant “best interest “factors.
- Guardian ad Litem: May be appointed to investigate if there are allegations of endangerment of a child.
In determining physical and legal custody, the court will utilize the following “best interest of the child” factors:
- Wishes of parents;
- Wishes of child (if of suitable age and maturity — there is no magic age);
- Caretaking role each parent has undertaken in life of the child;
- Intimacy of relationship among parent and child;
- Interaction among parent, child and family members;
- Child’s adjustment to home, school and community;
- Stability and continuity of each parent’s home;
- Permanence of proposed custodial home;
- Mental and physical health of parents and child;
- Capacity of parent to offer love, affection and guidance;
- Any culture issues that may be present;
- Effect on a child of acts of domestic abuse;
- Disposition of parent to encourage ongoing relationship between child and other parent;
- Ability of parents to cooperate in rearing of child;
- Methods parents have to resolve disputes that arise;
- Whether detrimental to child for one parent to have sole authority over upbringing; and
- Proximity of the residence of each parent.
We’re here to help if you have custody questions. Call (763) 323-6555 to arrange a consultation.