minnesota child custody lawyer

In Minnesota, as in most states, a variety of factors are considered when determining custody. These are covered in detail in MN Statute 518.14. Read on to learn more about this important statute and its impact on Minnesota custody proceedings:

Best Interests of the Child

Above all else, Minnesota courts make custody decisions based on what is deemed in the child’s best interests. What, exactly, constitutes a child’s best interests can vary significantly from one family to the next. Generally, however, courts consider:

  • How proposed arrangements might impact the child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Special needs regarding medical care or mental health
  • The child’s reasonable preference if he or she is of sufficient age and ability to make such a decision
  • Current or past domestic abuse in either household
  • Each parent’s emotional ties to the child — and the ability to maintain such ties following divorce

What About Joint Custody?

MN 518.14 specifically addresses the issue of joint custody, highlighting that courts should hold no presumption for or against such an arrangement — unless evidence indicates a history of domestic abuse in either household. The statute also mentions that parenting time need not be exactly equal for parents to receive joint custody.

Parental Rights Granted By Minnesota Courts

Regardless of custodial designation, Minnesota courts typically grant both parents the following rights:

  • Access to school, medical, and police reports
  • Notification of accidents or serious injuries
  • Notification if the child is the victim of a crime
  • Reasonable electronic contact with the child

No matter your preferred strategy for resolving custody issues, you can count on the Brown Law Offices for strong legal representation. Reach out at your earliest convenience to learn more about our approach to family law.

 

In our last post on custody in Minnesota, we explored the various factors used to determine custody and parenting time. Now that you understand the basics, it’s time to delve into specifics regarding paternity, residency requirements, and parenting plans.

How Paternity Impacts Custody

While the Minnesota marriage rate remains higher than that in most states, it’s quickly dropping — in part because more couples opt for cohabitation. Whether parents live together or apart, children conceived out of wedlock are not automatically presumed related to the father. To achieve custody or parenting time, the father must officially establish paternity. Otherwise, state law mandates that the mother receives sole custody.

Residency Requirements

To qualify for a Minnesota judge’s declaration in custody decisions, your child must have resided in the state with a parent or eligible guardian for six consecutive months. Exceptions sometimes apply in emergency situations.

Changing Custody

Custody arrangements in Minnesota can be altered following a court order, but only if the court deems that the family’s situation has changed significantly — and that a new order will benefit the child. When determining possible changes, courts only examine new circumstances.

Parenting Plans

Parenting plans help divorced or separated parents determine the specifics of child care. Topics covered may include education, emergency medical treatment, residential arrangements, and more. The state provides a parenting plan worksheet that can be used as a blueprint for parenting discussions or as a tool to prepare for courtroom proceedings.

Still confused about custody and visitation in Minnesota? You’re certainly not alone. Don’t hesitate to seek additional information from our knowledgeable and caring team at the Brown Law Offices. Call 763-323-6555 today to schedule a consultation.

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 Brown Law Offices for support. You’ll never doubt that we care about your family. Call 763-323-6555 today to schedule a case consultation.

Quick, affordable, and informal, mediation provides an enticing alternative to litigation divorce. That doesn’t make it the right solution for every couple. From abusive relationships to neglectful parenting, a variety of circumstances can make mediation a nightmare. Consider opting for collaboration or litigation instead, if one of these factors applies to your situation:

Your Spouse Is Abusive

If you are on the wrong side of a relationship power imbalance, avoid mediation at all costs. Without legal representation, you’re liable to cave to your ex’s unreasonable demands. As a participant in mediation, you can only consult with an attorney on the side. You need representation from a strong lawyer who isn’t afraid to fight for your best interests.

You Struggle to Advocate For Yourself

Even in non-abusive marriages, one spouse often plays a submissive role. If this represents your role in the relationship, you’ll struggle to accomplish your goals in mediation. You may benefit from collaboration — a middle ground involving strong attorney advocacy outside of court.

Your Spouse Is a Negligent Parent

Mediation negotiations often end in split custody or generous visitation time. If your ex’s poor parenting record makes the mere thought of joint custody abhorrent, prepare for a litigation divorce. There’s no room for compromise when your family’s safety is at stake.

Your Spouse Is Dead-Set On Hurting You

Divorcees driven by pure emotion struggle to keep their cool in mediation. To succeed during this process, ex-spouses should genuinely desire a mutually beneficial outcome. If your spouse seeks to undermine you at every turn, you’re better off settling your divorce in court.

No matter your preferred approach to divorce, you can count on the Brown Law Offices for quality counsel. Reach out today to learn more about the role this trusted Minnesota law firm could play in your mediation efforts.

Your ideal attorney needs so much more than a long resume. This person should share your most cherished values.

How do you determine what values, exactly, your most promising legal prospects hold? Read on to find out:

Determine What You Don’t Want In an Attorney

Like many people, you draw a blank when asked to define your values. When faced with such an open-ended question, it sometimes helps to clarify what you want to avoid.

Brainstorm a list of worst-case scenarios for attorney behavior. What do you fear most? What possibilities make you most comfortable? Next, determine how the opposite of unwanted behaviors could be defined as a desirable trait.

Not sure how this brainstorming process will play out? This example might help: Perhaps you hate the idea of your lawyer stringing you along in hopes of cashing in on your never-ending case. If so, you prioritize efficiency. You want your attorney to streamline the legal process without glossing over critical aspects of discovery.

Another example: you’re worried that your attorney will blame you for the demise of your relationship. You hate the thought of working with a judgmental legal representative. This means you value compassion.

Research Your Attorney For Signs of Shared Values

Once you know what you want in an attorney, find somebody who lives up to your vision. Prepare for a complicated search — all attorneys strive to present themselves in their best light. Look carefully at each prospect’s track record and marketing language to determine deep-seated values. Client reviews offer insight rarely available in marketing materials. Be wary of attorneys accused of behaviors that violate your personal code.

Trust Your Instincts

Whether researching an attorney online or meeting face-to-face, trust your gut. Don’t work with a lawyer who prompts even an inkling of discomfort.

Intuition is critical to finding a value-abiding lawyer. The more comfortable you feel at this early stage, the more likely you are to build a strong working relationship.

Ready to learn more about top values at the Brown Law Offices, P.A.? Get in touch today to discover our legal philosophy and approach to family law.

 

 

Minnesota offers great attractions for the entire family. If you’re stumped about what to do, or where to go, during your parenting time, try these fun locations:

1. Itaska State Park – Itaska is Minnesota’s oldest state park. Not only is it great for camping, but it also contains one of America’s most enduring attractions: the beginning of the Mississippi River. Walk across the rocks from one side to the other.

2. Cave Country – Some of the most beautiful caves in America are in Minnesota (to the surprise of many – including us). Take the kids to see the historic Niagara Cave, or head over to Mystery Cave, which truly lives up to its name. Head southeast to Minnesota’s cave country.

3. Mall of America – In Bloomington, the Mall of America is a place for children of all ages. Go on a tour of the Sea Life Aquarium, have fun at Crayola Experience and The LEGO Store, supplement your child’s education at the Children’s Museum, and walk through the Amazing Mirror Maze.

4. Walnut Grove – Walnut Grove was the childhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder. They have a museum, gift store, and a pageant of entertainment the entire family will love. Small town flair, with minimal cost.

5. Valleyfair – Valleyfair is the largest amusement park in the Upper Midwest. Enjoy thrill rides, family rides, Planet Snoopy, a waterpark, the Dinosaurs Alive exhibition (a favorite of elementary-aged kids), and more.

6. Como Park Zoo – Who doesn’t like animals? Minnesota’s Como Park Zoo is completely free, and it includes incredible exhibits of animals from all around the world. There are also great family entertainment attractions like Como Town and Ribbit Zibit. It’s the perfect day outing when you have the kids.

Whether you have a day visit, a weekend to get away, or just a couple of hours, there is plenty to do in Minnesota for children of any age.