Like other states, Minnesota family courts always make custody decisions based upon the best interests of the child. Judges are to look at a large number of factors and cannot use just one while excluding others. When making their custody decisions, judges are supposed to state how the decision was made in the best interests of the child.
In Minnesota, as is the case in many other states, there are two kinds of child custody, physical and legal. A parent who is granted physical custody has the right to make decisions regarding where the child lives and his or her day-to-day activities. A parent who is given legal custody has the right to make decisions regarding a child's religious instruction, health care and education.
In Minnesota and other states, courts will decide both legal and physical custody of a minor. Legal custody means making important decisions about education, health care, and other issues; physical custody means deciding where the child will live and establishing a daily routine. Parents can have sole or joint custody, depending on the circumstances. If the parents agree on all custody issues, they may file a stipulation with the court on the child's living arrangements.
Minnesota divorces involving children may see changes if Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signs child custody legislation that recently passed the state house and senate. Readers of this blog may recall an earlier post where we discussed the original Children's Equal and Shared Parenting Act, which required each divorced parent to get 45.1 percent of the time with the child.
Going through a divorce is always an emotional and difficult process, but when kids are involved in a divorce, the situation is even more sensitive. Parents want the best for their children and debate as to which parent is best suited to provide for a child can and does happen. Minnesota couples making the decision to get divorced may soon see a change in the way child custody is determined in court.