Divorcing families with children must decide on a legal and physical custody arrangement. Minnesota courts allow both joint and sole custody depending on each child’s circumstances.
Review the factors that influence child custody decisions in Minnesota.
The custody process
When both parents agree on parenting time, they can file an agreement with their local court for review. Otherwise, they can ask the court to decide on their behalf. If parents cannot decide on custody without court intervention, they must attend a parenting class.
Best interest factors
Minnesota law establishes 13 factors to determine a custody arrangement that serves the child’s best interests. These include:
- The child’s cultural background
- The child’s reasonable preference depending on age
- The child’s adjustment to his or her current living situation
- The ability of each parent to provide the required love and guidance
- The mental and physical health of the child and both parents
- The stability of each parent’s household
- The stability of the child’s current living situation
- The child’s current relationship with other family members, such as siblings and grandparents
- The current relationship the child has with each parent
- The role each parent has had in caring for the child
- The wishes of each parent
- Each parent’s willingness to foster a healthy relationship between the child and the other parent
- Whether either parent has exposed the child to domestic abuse
When one parent asks for joint physical custody, the judge will also consider whether the parents can cooperate to raise the child, whether either parent has committed domestic abuse against the other, and whether one parent having sole custody could harm the child’s well-being.