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Child custody and parenting time arrangements vary dramatically from one couple to the next. When resolved in court, these matters largely come down to the best interests of the child. This can be frustrating for parents, who may disagree vehemently on what, exactly, constitutes a child’s best interests. In Minnesota, courts typically take the following factors into account:

Parenting Ability

While Minnesota courts generally maintain that it is in the best interest of most children to enjoy strong relationships with both parents, discrepancies can arise when parenting ability comes into play.

Local courts sometimes examine evidence indicating that one parent is more responsible or reliable than the other. For example, a history of criminal activity or drug abuse could impede a parent’s ability to secure custody or even parenting time. Domestic abuse, in particular, warrants concern.


Even in the best circumstances, divorce involves significant upheaval. This can cause huge problems for the families of divorce, as children tend to function best when exposed to stable environments. For this reason, courts favor arrangements that allow children to maintain as much stability as possible. This could mean living near siblings or grandparents, attending the same school, or otherwise continuing habits and traditions that previously enriched the child’s life.

The Child’s Preferences

Depending on their age, children or teens impacted by divorce may be granted some say in custody arrangements. A strongly expressed and reasonable preference for living with one parent or another could have a huge impact on the ultimate outcome.

As you make arrangements for child custody, support, and parenting time, don’t hesitate to seek counsel from an attorney who prioritizes the best interests of both you and your child. Look to the Barna, Guzy & Steffen, Ltd. for quality representation.