If you are facing a custody dispute, you need a reputable Minneapolis custody lawyer on your side.

There are two types of custody in Minnesota: physical and legal. A parent may receive sole or joint custody. A non-custodial parent will likely receive an award of parenting time. The “best interests of the child” governs these issues.

The “Best Interest of the Child” Standard

In examining the best interests of a child, the Court will examine 12 best interest criteria, including:

(1) a child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development;

(2) any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services;

(3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference;

(4) whether domestic abuse has occurred in the parents’ or either parent’s household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs;

(5) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs;

(6) the history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child;

(7) the willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child; to meet the child’s ongoing developmental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs; and to maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time;

(8) the effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community;

(9) the effect of the proposed arrangements on the ongoing relationships between the child and each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;

(10) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent;

(11) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent; and

(12) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child.

The Meaning of “Legal” Custody

Legal custody grants a parent the right to have a role in the educational, medical and religious decisions made on behalf of a child. There is a presumption in Minnesota that parents should be granted joint legal custody. This presumption may be overcome, however, by demonstrating that such an award does not serve the best interests of a child (if, for example, a parent experiences significant mental illness or has played no role in the life of a child).

The Meaning of “Physical” Custody

Physical custody refers to the day to day physical location of children. The presumption in Minnesota is that one parent should have sole physical custody and the other should be awarded an appropriate amount of parenting time with the children. This presumption may be overcome, however, by demonstrating that such an award does not serve the best interests of a child – usually by showing that the parents have each played a significant role in a child’s upbringing, get along relatively well, communicate respectfully with one another, have no history of domestic abuse and intend to remain living in close proximity (within the same school district) of one another. Some judges are much more open to an award of joint physical custody than others. An experienced Minneapolis custody lawyer can make all the difference.

Parenting Time Schedules

If one parent is awarded sole physical custody of a child, the other will typically receive an award of parenting time. Very often, such an award involves spending time with the children every-other weekend, one or two evenings per week, half of all holidays and non-school days during the academic year, and a number of weeks of uninterrupted vacation time during the summer months.

Get Help From a Minneapolis Custody Lawyer

If you need a Minneapolis custody lawyer, we are here to help. Call us at (763) 783-5146 for a confidential case evaluation. We can talk with you about your rights and obligations concerning custody and parenting time issues.