Child Custody & Parenting Time / Visitation
Serving the entire Twin Cities Metro in all areas of Family Law
Child Custody, Parenting Time & Visitation are typically the most complex and emotionally charged issues that need to be worked out in a family law matter. Minnesota law states that custody issues to be resolved in a manner that represents the best interests of the child. I handle custody cases under all circumstances, whether you are working through a divorce, are pursuing a modification to a previous custody agreement, or have children but were never maried, I can help.
The Best Interest of the Child Statute
The "Best Interest of the Child" standard is taken from section 518.17 of the 2015 Minnesota Statutes. The Statute can be seen in it's entirety by clicking here.
It is not uncommon for parents to disagree on child custody or visitation. However, while disagreement is common, it's important for both parties to understand that getting into emotionally charged arguments about what is best for the kids is typically destructive and does not move the situation towards the best resolution.
Physical custody refers to the parent who is granted the right to have a child live with him or her. While this does give the parent with physical custody more control over the day-to-day decisions around raising the child, it does not give them total control over every aspect of the child's life.
Legal custody of a child means having the right and the obligation to make decisions about a child's upbringing. A parent with legal custody can make decisions about schooling, religion, and medical care. Usually courts award joint legal custody, which means that the decision making is shared by both parents but there are some circumstances where sole legal custody will be awarded.
One parent can have either sole legal custody or sole physical custody of a child. Sole custody may be awarded in situations where the Court has been presented specific factors indicating that one parent is unfit. It is important to understand that sole custody is awarded based on the Court's specific criteria and not simply what one parent thinks of the other.
Parents who don't live together have joint custody (also called shared custody) when they share the decision-making responsibilities for, and/or physical control and custody of, their children. Joint custody can exist if the parents are divorced, separated, or no longer cohabiting.
Joint custody may be:
- joint legal custody (where both parents make decisions about a child's upbringing)
- joint physical custody (where the children spend a significant portion of time with each parent), or
- joint legal and physical custody.
Free Initial Consultation with a Child Custody Lawyer
If you are facing a child custody issue and do not know how to initiate the process, take advantage of my free consultation by calling one of the numbers below.