Minneapolis Child Custody and Parenting Time/Visitation Lawyers
Helpful Guidance for Your Family
At Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C., we are dedicated to protecting
the rights of parents and their children. Our team of experienced lawyers
uses in-depth knowledge of the law and effective advocacy to help you
achieve equitable results in a wide range of child custody and parenting
time/visitation matters. These include determination of child custody
and parenting time/visitation during a divorce or paternity proceeding,
as well as enforcement and
modification of existing child custody and parenting time/visitation orders.
Child Custody and Parenting Time in Divorce
The question of how a
divorce will affect children is often the most important to parents. While each
family is different, we can help you anticipate how Minnesota law may
apply to your family. Our attorneys can discuss matters of child custody
and parenting time (visitation), and the factors that are important to
determining those issues.
When it comes to child custody, Minnesota law is gender neutral –
favoring neither fathers nor mothers in custody determinations. Custody
determinations include the determination of legal and physical custody,
which can be joint or sole. Under Minnesota law, it is a rebuttable presumption
that a parent will share joint legal custody and enjoy equal rights and
responsibilities in making decisions about a child’s upbringing.
Presently, there is no presumption regarding physical custody one way
or the other. Joint physical custody does not necessarily mean equal physical
custody. Apart from custody, the court also decides the parenting time
(visitation) schedule between the child(ren) and the parents.
Factors When Determining Custody
The court takes a series of factors into account when determining child
custody and parenting time. These include looking at which parent has
been the child’s primary caretaker and which parent is more likely
to help build meaningful relationships between the child and the other
parent. The court also looks at matters like domestic violence that occurred
during the marriage and allegations of alcoholism or drug use. Evidence
of substance abuse and mental health issues that affect a parent’s
ability to care for a child may provide a basis for determining that the
parent is not fit to have custody of the child. It is important to have
an attorney who understands the factors that the court will consider in
making its determination in the best interests of the child and who can
assist you in presenting the evidence for each factor.
Contact Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C., by calling us at
(612) 712-3890 to speak with our Minneapolis child custody attorneys.
FAQ About Child Custody
One of the most challenging aspects of family law is child custody. At
Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C., our lawyers want to minimize the
strain on our clients whenever possible. Helping our clients understand
what to expect and planning for the future is very valuable.
This page provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions
about child custody. While this page will help you understand some of
the legal terms associated with child custody matters, every situation
is unique. We encourage you to meet with one of our family law lawyers
to get a better understanding of your unique custody situation.
How is Custody Handled in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, there are two types of custody: Legal custody and physical
custody. Each type of custody can be awarded either solely to one parent
or shared jointly between parents.
What is Legal Custody?
Legal custody refers to who will have the right to make major parenting
decisions for a child. This includes matters of education, health care,
What is Physical Custody?
Physical custody refers to the ability to make regular day-to-day decisions
as well as where the child physically lives.
What is Parenting Time?
Also known as visitation, parenting time refers to the time a child spends
with each parent. There are no default schedules for parenting time between
parents. However, it is presumed in Minnesota that every parent is entitled
to at least 25% parenting time unless the court finds that such parenting
time is likely to endanger the child’s physical or emotional health
or impair the child’s emotional development. Since every case is
different, talk to an attorney at Mack & Santana Law Offices, P.C.
to get more information about what the parenting time schedule might look
like in your case.
How is Custody Determined in Minnesota?
The courts use the best interests of a child when determining custody of
a child. The best interests are laid out by Minn. Stat. §518.17.
These factors are guidelines for the court’s consideration, but
other facts may also impact custody. Anyone concerned about establishing
or changing custody should speak with an attorney to obtain guidance for
their unique situation.
What Happens When Parents Cannot Agree on Custody?
It is ideal for all parties to come to an agreement on child custody. When
parties cannot agree about custody, the decision is left to the courts.
The courts will frequently order a custody/parenting time evaluation from
a neutral evaluator.
What Happens in an Emergency?
In an emergency situation, where one of the parents or a child is in immediate
physical danger, an emergency motion (which may or may not give notice
to the other side, depending on the facts and circumstances) may be filed
with the court.
Do You Have More Questions?
Understanding the terms used in child custody matters is just the start.
Get more information about your custody situation. Schedule an appointment
to meet with one of our attorneys.
Call our law office at
(612) 712-3890. You can also reach us
online. We represent clients in Minneapolis and throughout the surrounding area.