Child Custody

Minnesota Child Custody Lawyer

The most important consideration in any family law matter involving children is resolving custody and parenting-time issues, and determing the best interests of the child or children involved.

Minnesota recognizes two components of custody:

  • Legal custody – means the right to determine the child’s upbringing, including education, health care and religious training.
  • Physical custody – means the routine daily care and control and residence of the child.

Legal and physical custody can be shared by both parents or may be the responsibility of one parent.

Best Interest Of The Child

Many times, the parties will reach an agreement on custody and parenting time.  In some cases, the Court will make the decision.  There are specific factors that must be considered in deciding questions of custody and parenting time.   These factors include the child’s current home environment, and changes that could benefit the child in the future. The court considers:

  • The physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual and other needs of the child, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development.
  • Any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services.
  • The reasonable preference of the child if the court deems the child to be of a sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference.
  • Whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01 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.
  • Any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs.
  • The history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child.
  • 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.
  • The effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

Your Minneapolis divorce lawyer will work with you to assist you in understanding the process and achieving your desired results.

Modification of Custody Arrangements

In certain circumstances, following a custody decision, a party may seek to modify or change the existing custodial arrangements.  Modifications can be agreed to between the parties or requested of the Court.

Modification requests are usually the result of changing circumstances that arise as a result of safety concerns for the child or due to a child residing with one parent with the permission of the other parent.  Modifications may also arise if a parent chronically and unreasonably fails to comply with court-ordered parenting time.

The best interest factors must be considered in any decision to modify custody or parenting time.

Contact A Minnesota Divorce Lawyer

Emotions often run high when dealing with issues related to custody and parenting time.  It is important to consult an experienced child custody attorney, who can assisnt you in understanding your rights and navigating the complex legal system.  To learn about your options, call the Lundgren Law Office at 612-333-3908 to schedule a free consultation.