Types of Custody in Minnesota | MN Family Law

May 2, 2017

in Child Custody, Minnesota Child Custody, Minnesota child support

Minnesota Child Custody EmergenciesTypes of Custody in Minnesota

During a divorce (dissolution of marriage) proceeding in Minnesota, there are many issues for former spouses to settle.

One of the most contentious is custody of dependent children. A basic overview of child custody law in Minnesota can help parents make informed decisions in the best interest of their children.

Minnesota statutes define two types of custody. The first is legal custody.. Legal custody of a child permits a parent to control a childs upbringing, education, health care, and religious practices. Minn. Stat. 518.003(a). There are varying degrees of legal custody in Minnesota, but in general, Minnesota courts presume joint custody is in the best interest of the child. Minn. Stat. 518.17 subd. 2. Courts may depart with this statutory presumption on a case-by-case basis depending on several factors. Those factors are 1) the parents ability to cooperate on child rearing matters, 2) how parents resolve disputes regarding the child, 3) whether extended interaction with one parent could be detrimental to the children and 4) instances, if any, of domestic violence in the household. Minn. Stat. subd. 2.

By contrast, Minnesota defines physical custody as the routine care and day-to-day administration of the childs welfare. Minn. Stat. 518.003(c). Unlike legal custody, there is no statutory presumption favoring joint physical custody. In a marital dissolution proceeding, a court will administer the best interest factors outlined in Minn. Stat. 518.17 subd. 1 to determine physical custody. The best interest test is similar to the test for legal custody, though more detailed. For example, a court will consider the reasonable preferences of the child when considering how to administer physical custody Minn. Stat. 518.17 subd. 1(a)(3).

Minnesota statutes permit parents to come to a reasonable agreement regarding legal and physical custody outside the purview of a judicial proceeding. Upon consent of both parties, parents may submit to the court a parenting plan to determine physical and legal custody of the child. Minn. Stat. 518.1705. A mutually agreed upon parenting plan must include (1) a schedule of time each parent spends with the child, 2) a method of decision-making responsibilities regarding the child and 3) a method of dispute resolution between the two parties. Minn. Stat. 518.1705 subd. 2(a).

Determining physical and legal custody of a child can be a daunting task for parents in the midst of a marriage dissolution proceeding. The advice of a knowledgeable Minnesota Family Process can reduce stress and help determine the best interests of the child.

Dakota County Divorce Lawyers

An experienced Minnesota family law attorney can help walk you through the difficult process of divorce, including offering advice on confusing financial issues such as alimony and helping negotiate emotional subjects like child custody arrangements. For more information on divorce in Minnesota, along with a variety of other topics, contact Joseph M. Flanders of Flanders Law Firm at  612-424-0398.

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Dakota County MN Lawyer...

Joseph Flanders of Flanders Law Firm LLC is a family law and estate planning lawyer. For further information, check out his website or you can contact him by sending an email

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Dave Mejias August 17, 2017 at 12:02 pm

Dave Mejias has won precedent setting victories for his clients in cases involving custody, maintenance and child support. His firm has also been recognized by the Coalition against Domestic Violence for continuing to fight for the rights of victims of domestic violence related matters in Long Island, Glen Cove, Nassau and Suffolk County.


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