Child Custody in Minnesota: An Overview
In Minnesota, when a divorce involves one or more minor children, either the parties or the judge who is presiding over the case must decide on delicate family issues including child custody, parenting time, and child support. There are two types of child custody in the state of Minnesota: legal custody and physical custody. When determining custody in Minnesota, the courts are looking at what is in the best interest of the children. Types and definitions of child custody vary widely from state to state, so it is important to understand exactly what each term means in Minnesota before entering into a custody agreement. The best way to gain this understanding is to engage a well-respected child custody attorney in Minneapolis, MN.
The Importance of an Experienced Child Custody Attorney in Minneapolis, MN
When you are embroiled in a divorce involving children, you have a lot on your plate and there is a lot at stake. While a divorce can be an expensive process, it is not the best time to try to cut corners and save costs. If it is important to you to have sole or joint legal and physical custody of your children, do not attempt to handle your divorce issues alone. You need the expertise of a professional child custody attorney in Minneapolis, MN.
Your Minneapolis child custody attorney can explain exactly how Minnesota child custody laws work and how they could potentially affect your case. Your rights will be acknowledged, explained, protected, and represented every step of the way. If you are entangled in a child custody battle in Minneapolis, your relationship with your children as you know it depends on finding the right child custody attorney to stand up and represent you and your parenting abilities in a court of law.
Legal Custody: Sole vs Joint
In Minnesota, legal custody can be either sole or it can be joint, also known as shared. Sole legal custody occurs when only one parent has the right to make major decisions for the minor children and does not have to consider the other parent’s opinion. The parent who has been awarded sole legal custody is not required to ask for permission from the other parent or to notify the other parent of such decisions in any way.
Joint legal custody is when both parents make their children’s major life decisions together. Each parent has an equal right to be involved in these decisions that are made for the children. There is a legal presumption in the state of Minnesota that joint legal custody is always in the best interests of the children. However, if there is a history of abuse or one parent can be proven unfit by the other’s Minneapolis child custody attorney, sole legal custody will be granted.
Physical Custody: Sole vs Joint
Physical custody refers to what most people mean when they use the term custody. It concerns which parent the child resides with and their daily care. Physical custody, however, is not the same as parenting time. Parenting time is simply the court-ordered schedule that dictates when the children are to be with each parent, how transportation will occur, and how holidays will be divided.
Just as with legal custody, in Minnesota, physical custody can be sole or joint. Sole physical custody means that only one parent will physically have the children the majority of the time. The parent who is not awarded physical custody will usually still be allowed parenting time, which will likely include overnight visits. Joint physical custody occurs when both parents are involved in physically caring for the children on a daily basis.
Joint physical custody might include equal parenting time but that does not have to be the case. It could look like summer vacations spent with one parent and the school year spent with the other parent. It might entail the children spending Monday through Friday with one parent and weekends with the other parent. Most of the time, a parenting time schedule can be worked out between the parties or their Minneapolis child custody attorneys and then approved by the judge.
When the court is determining whether joint physical custody is appropriate, it will consider factors such as each parent’s involvement thus far in the daily lives of their children, each parent’s methods of discipline, and each parent’s willingness to be cooperative for the sake of their children.
As it currently stands, there is no legal presumption in Minnesota that all parties should share joint physical custody of their children. If you are seeking joint physical custody of your child, you will need to engage the services of an experienced child custody attorney in Minneapolis, MN to help you prove to the court that you have the ability to co-parent effectively.
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