The custody of the parties’ minor children is one of the most important issues of concern in a divorce. It is understandable that neither parent wants to be marginalized or become a part time parent. There are two child custody designations which are “legal” custody and “physical” custody. Legal custody is generally the right to have access to information regarding the minor child and to participate in significant decisions regarding the child such as their religion and where they go to school. Legal custody is presumed under Minnesota law. Being granted physical custody implies that that party may determine where the minor children live primarily. However, the parties can agree and the Court can order joint physical custody either on an equal basis or some other arrangement. There is currently no presumption of equal physical custody. You can click here to see the statutory definitions of legal and physical child custody.
If the parties can discuss child custody of their children and understand that they will have to jointly parent their children even if they are divorced, this issue will be easier to resolve. If they are unable to come to an agreement concerning custody, the parties have some options before a trial. They can agree to mediate with or without counsel. They can agree to have a custody evaluator make recommendations concerning custody and/or parenting time. However, neither party has to accept the recommendations of the evaluator unless they have agreed to that as part of the evaluation.
Ultimately, if no agreement concerning custody in forthcoming, the Court will decide this issue after a trial and its decision may or may not please either party. In making its decision, the Court will make findings as to the statutory “best interest” factors for custody and parenting time which are listed in the menu to the left.
If you have questions regarding child custody, please call an experienced Minnesota family law attorney at Felix Law Office, P.A. at 952-894-8380.