The phrase “custody” is used to describe the obligations, and rights, of parents regarding the care of their children.
Child custody issues come about when an unmarried couple has a child together, or when married parents get a divorce.
The two types of child custody in Minnesota are physical custody and legal custody.
Legal custody involves a parent being able to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing and well-being (religion, education and healthcare).
Physical custody is the type of custody that a parent has when the children live primarily with them. It involves the day to day care of a child.
Parents can have joint legal custody, which means both parents have a say in the upbringing of the child. If there is a dispute, the court can intervene in order to settle the conflict.
With joint physical custody, children typically (but not always) split their time with both parents.
If a parent is awarded sole physical custody, the non-custodial parent will be granted visitation (now referred to as a more politically correct “parenting time” award). A schedule will be established. For instance, a child may live with dad, but visit mom on weekends.
In some cases, sole legal custody is granted, but those awards are rare (typically reserved for situations in which there is a history of domestic abuse among the litigants). When both parents are in the picture, the court prefers that they are equally involved in making important decisions for the child.