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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 and religion.

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 percent 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 a family law 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 an 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 family law attorneys. Call our Minneapolis law office at 612-426-7141 or our Prior Lake law office at 952-314-2617. You can also reach us online. We represent clients in Minneapolis and throughout the surrounding area.