Wooden figure of man and woman with child and a judge sitting behind them. On the table there is a gavel.

How Child Custody Works in Minnesota

The well-being of the children is one of the biggest concerns for parents after a divorce. Not only does life change for the adults, but the children must also adjust to a new normal. This includes getting used to a new custody setup.

Let’s go over the types of child custody in Minnesota and how child custody agreements are determined.

Types of Custody

There are two main types of custody in Minnesota - legal and physical.

The parent(s) with legal custody have the right to make decisions for the child regarding:

  • Education
  • Health
  • Religion

Physical custody is when the parent is allowed to make day-to-day decisions for the child, and also refers to where the child lives.

Sole vs. Joint Custody

Both legal and physical custody can be awarded on a sole or joint basis.

Sole custody means that only one parent is given that type of custody. For example, if the mom is given sole legal custody, the dad no longer has the ability to make any health decisions for the child.

Joint custody means that each parent maintains the rights listed above. If the child spends weekends with one parent and weekdays with the other, that would be joint physical custody.

The courts like to encourage a positive relationship between the child and each parent. For this reason, joint custody is favorable in most situations.

How Is Custody Determined?

Ensuring that the custody agreement is in the best interest of the child is the number one priority.

Many factors are considered when determining child custody.

These factors include:

  • The child’s health
  • The child’s educational needs
  • The child’s preference is they are deemed mature enough to have a say
  • Any history of neglect, abuse, and/or domestic violence
  • The child’s relationship with each parent
  • If either parent has significant health issues that would impact the child
  • How custody would impact the child’s social development
  • How willing the parents are to cooperate

Another main consideration is maximizing the amount of parenting time each parent has to ensure that the child or children can maintain a strong relationship with each parent.

Parenting Time

Parenting time is commonly referred to as visitation. It is the time that each parent spends with the child or children. This is determined on a case-by-case basis, however, parents in Minnesota are entitled to at least 25% parenting time unless there are extenuating circumstances.

Do The Courts Always Set The Custody Agreement?

Many people think that the court handles all child custody and support matters. This is not necessarily true. If the parents can agree on a schedule, the courts do not need to be involved.

However, if the parents cannot agree, or the original custody plan is not being followed, the courts can step in.

Visitation and Child Support

It is important to note the relationship between visitation and child support. Some people are under the assumption that if one parent is not paying their child support, they are not entitled to visitation. This is not the case; there is no relationship between visitation and child support.

If you are struggling to get child support payments from your ex, notify the court.

If you are struggling to get visitation time with your child, notify the court.

Modifying a Custody Order

Minnesota allows you to modify a custody order under specific circumstances.

  1. If both parties agree to a modification
  2. If the child has been integrated into the non-custodial parent’s family with the custodial parent’s consent
  3. If there is evidence that the child is in danger under the care of the custodial parent (physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, etc).

Minneapolis Custody Attorneys

Setting up a custody agreement can be complicated, especially if the parents cannot agree. At Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C., we do everything in our power to fight for your child’s best interests. Give us a call today at (612) 712-3890 to set up an initial case consultation with one of our attorneys.

More questions about child custody? Check out our FAQ page here.