When child custody issues arise, courts can determine two types of custody of minor children: physical custody and legal custody. In some situations, both parents can share physical custody and/or legal custody. Otherwise, one parent might assume sole physical custody and/or sole legal custody. Click on the links below to learn more about specific child support issues.
Child custody may be awarded through a custody proceeding, during filings for divorce or legal separation, in paternity or domestic abuse actions, or when the child lives with a third party such as a grandparent or legal guardian. Also, if a child is involved in a civil order for protection, such as a “child in need of protective services” (CHIPS) case or a juvenile delinquency case, the court might need to make a determination of child custody.
What rights and obligations are involved with the different types of child custody?
Under Minnesota law, the court looks at 13 factors to determine the child’s “best interests” in granting both legal custody and physical custody. This determination only occurs if the parents themselves cannot reach an agreement about the custody of the child. In 95% of child custody cases, the parents reach an agreement and thus do not need to go to court to have a judge decide the child’s custody.
If a case does go to court, the judge might find that it is in the best interests of the child to award sole physical custody to one parent rather than the other parent. There is no one factor to decide which parent should be awarded sole custody. Instead, the judge’s determination of the child’s “best interests” is based on an examination of the following 13 factors:
If you have questions about how the court may determine custody in your case, or would like to modify a current custody order, contact the attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers today for a free consultation.