MN Custody Laws Every Parent Should Know

Child custody is rarely a straightforward issue in family court. Often, parents don’t agree on what is best for the child – and when you throw in the legal complexities, cases can easily become confusing and complicated.

Anyone who is going through a child custody case in Minnesota needs to do their homework. They must understand the issues that the court is attempting to address with child custody and what processes are used to bring about the most expedient and positive outcome.

Read on to find out the Minnesota custody laws every parent should know.

Types of Custody in Minnesota Law

There are different types of custody reflected in state law that parents need to understand. They include:

Physical Custody

This type of custody describes the parent the child lives with. It is possible to have joint physical custody of a child, particularly when parents live close to one another.

In those cases, it is possible for a child to split their time between both houses, but in most cases, this isn’t an arrangement that is possible. Therefore, one parent is granted physical custody of the child.

Legal Custody

This type of custody regards the parent’s legal ability to make important decisions on behalf of the child such as where they go to school, what church they attend, or which doctors they see.

Often, physical custody may be granted to one parent but legal custody is shared between both parents. This way, both parents can participate in the vital decisions that can shape a child’s life. It’s important for parents to agree in all areas concerning legal custody and how to address any changes that may take place or emergencies that arise.

Joint or Sole Custody

It’s not often that a judge will grant sole legal and physical custody to just one parent. In most cases, the parent without physical custody will have parenting time that is agreed on by both parties in the custody agreement.

Judgments in Child Custody

It’s best for the parents in a custody case to work together through mediation to find an arrangement that works best, but in cases where that isn’t possible, the court can create that agreement for them.

When the judge decides on custody, several factors go into how they decide what the right arrangement is. This includes what is considered to be in the best interest of the child. In cases where no settlement by agreement can be reached, the judge will use their discretion to decide what is in the best interest of the child.

To do this, they balance certain factors such as:

  • The child’s relationship with the individual parents
  • The parent who has been the child’s primary caregiver thus far
  • The quality of the life each parent can offer the child
  • The age of the child as well as their emotional, physical, and educational needs

The judge may consider what the child wants, but that may not always sway the judge’s decision in the matter. It really depends on the age of the child.

Do You Have the Right Idea About Custody?

Duluth Child Custody Lawyer

There are a lot of misconceptions about child custody cases that circulate. For example, many people mistakenly assume that mothers are granted sole custody and a father will be limited to visitation and child support, but that’s not always the case.

Things have changed from the way they commonly worked decades ago, and you need an experienced attorney that can help you navigate the current state of child custody in Minnesota.


About the Author:

Andrew T. Poole is a Minnesota native who has served in the Army for more than 18 years and is currently a JAG lawyer in the Army Reserves in addition to serving as a partner at LaCourse, Poole & Envall. He has handled thousands of criminal and family law cases over the course of his career and has a firm belief that all hardworking Minnesotans should be entitled to the best possible legal counsel. Mr. Poole boasts a 10/10 Superb rating on Avvo, is Lead Counsel rated, and has been recognized multiple times by SuperLawyers, National Trial Lawyers, and others for his work.