Minnesota Child Custody Lawyer
• Starting a Custody Action – Minnesota courts with jurisdiction may hear custody proceedings by the filing of a divorce in Minnesota or when paternity has been recognized and by filing a motion for custody in the appropriate county.
• Legal Custody Minnesota – is the right of a parent to have say so in a child’s upbringing, which includes, among others, education, health care, and religious training. Minnesota has a statutory presumption in favor of joint legal custody meaning that both parents should have input or say so in the education, health care and religious upbringing of the child. There are times when parents can show that it is not in the best interest of the child for an award of joint legal custody. Typically sole legal custody is appropriate when there has been domestic abuse or if the parties are unable to cooperate in the raising of the children.
• Minnesota Physical Custody Lawyer – is the right of a parent having control over the daily care of the child and represents where the child primarily resides. Despite a previous presumption of a designation of sole physical custody Minnesota courts have now shifted to more closely reviewing the amount of parenting time rather than labels. During a divorce it is very important to decide to give up physical custody because the standards to modify the physical custody of a child are high. See the section below titled Modification of Custody.
• Minnesota Joint Custody Lawyer – Despite the view that joint physical custody was once only appropriate in exceptional cases, Minnesota courts are beginning to revisit the issue of joint physical custody and award it, provided that parents can show: (1) the ability to cooperate in raising the children (2) they have methods to resolve disputes (3) that it would not be detrimental to the child and (4) that no domestic violence has occurred.
• Minnesota Determination of Custody Lawyer – The test for determination of custody is all relevant factors necessary to determine the best interest of the child. The best interest of the child consists of thirteen factors, and the court cannot use one factor at the exclusion of others. In Minnesota the factors include the following:
1. The wishes of the child’s parents as to custody
2. The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express a preference
3. The child’s primary caretaker
4. The intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child
5. The interaction of the child with the parent or parents siblings, and others
6. The child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
7. The length of time the child has lived in the stable environment
8. The performance, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home
9. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
10. The capacity of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance
11. The child’s cultural background
12. The effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse
13. The willingness of each parent to encourage and permit frequent continuing contact by the other parent with the child.
Minn. Stat. §518.17, subd. 1.
In previous court cases Minnesota courts have paid particular attention to which parent has been the primary caretaker, meaning, which parent: prepares and plans meals, does the bathing, grooming and dressing of the child, purchases, cleans and cares for the clothes, provides medical care or takes the child to the doctor, arranges for and transports the child to events and social interactions, arranges for babysitting, disciplines the child, teaches the child, provides education including teaching or helping with school work or preparation, provides religious and cultural training.
• Minnesota Modification of Custody Lawyer – Child custody modifications in Minnesota cannot be brought until at least one year has elapsed since the date of divorce. If a motion for modification of custody has been heard, no motion can be brought earlier than two years from the decision of the previous motion. Under certain circumstances motions for modifications of custody can be brought prior to the limitation periods. The exceptions are: (1) the parties agree in writing to an earlier motion (2) there is a persistent and willful denial or interference with visitation or (3) the court has reason to believe that child’s environment is causing physical or emotional endangerment. The party in all cases seeking a modification must make a preliminary showing that significant change in circumstances has occurred. Once the preliminary showing has been made courts are required to hold an evidentiary hearing to determine what is in the best interest of the child and weigh that against the harm of changing the residence of the child. Parents applying for major modifications in custody have a high burden. Because of this high burden hiring an experienced attorney is absolutely necessary.
• Custody for Grandparents and Relatives – In Minnesota there is a presumption that temporary custody should be granted to a relative of a minor child if that child has lived with the relative for a period of more than 12 months and the parent has had no contact on a regular basis and has not participated in the well being of the child for 6 months or the parent has refused to or neglected to partake in the parental duties that ordinarily exist between a parent and a child.