It is important to have legal counsel as soon as possible once a separation or divorce between parents is underway. Steele Law Offices offers compassionate guidance along with clear communication of what parents can expect through the legal process of asserting parental rights and obtaining a child custody order or modification.
How Child Custody Works In Minnesota
In Minnesota, child custody is divided into two categories — legal custody and physical custody. Either custody can be shared jointly by the parents, or one parent may have sole custody. Understanding what the terms mean is important when you discuss your custody options with your attorney.
Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make important decisions about a child’s upbringing, including education, religion and health care. Joint legal custody refers to when parents share legal custody of a child — that means both parents have input in the upbringing of the child. Sole legal custody means one parent has the right to make all legal decisions about the child. Typically, a party with sole legal custody will also have sole physical custody.
Physical custody refers to the child’s primary residence; that is, where a child lives on a day-to-day basis. Physical custody can be awarded to one parent (i.e., sole physical custody) or shared (i.e., joint physical custody). The time you have with your child is not determined by whether you have joint or sole physical custody; the time you have with your child is determined by your parenting time.
Parenting time refers to the time a parent enjoys with their child. Parenting time schedules are set out in a divorce decree or custody and parenting time order, and specify the time the child will spend with each parent. It is important to have a clear parenting time schedule so the parents and child know what to expect. It is also important that the schedule be clear so if there are any disputes in the future, the parenting time provisions can be enforced.
When making custody and parenting time decisions, the courts look to what is in the child’s best interests. Ideally, parents will keep their child’s best interests in mind and work together through their attorneys to come to a custody and parenting time agreement. When an agreement cannot be reached, it is important that you have an advocate who will show your child’s best interests will be served by you having the custody and/or liberal parenting time you seek.
Our Minnetonka Family Law Firm Can Help You Understand And Navigate Aspects Of Child Custody Matters
Emotional aspects of fathers’ rights and mothers’ rights cannot be ignored during the decision-making leading up to a legal determination of parenting time. Separation from one’s child brought about by a separation or divorce can be stressful in day-to-day life.
A child custody decree also carries financial implications, since child support is calculated, in part, by the amount of time a child spends with each parent. A family law attorney at Steele Law Offices can advocate for your rights and best interests, while keeping your child’s best interests — the main concern of the family law courts — clearly in focus.
It can take time to establish workable rhythms of co-parenting when parents no longer live together. The practical aspects of child custody naturally differ depending on a child’s age. A baby or toddler needs ample face time with each parent to form strong bonds. A school-age child’s schedule typically revolves around school and bedtime. A teenager may have extracurricular activities, an active peer group and perhaps a part-time job — all of which should be taken into account when negotiating parenting time for a mother and for a father. Parents’ jobs and living locations also figure into the equation when child custody is under consideration.
Get The Guidance You Need When Important Child-Related Legal Issues Are Under Determination
Steele Law Offices can assist you in navigating the challenge that comes with establishing a child custody arrangement. Our attorneys can assist with other child-related issues such as:
- Paternity actions
- Child custody for unmarried parents
- Fulfilling court requirements for divorcing parents
- Understanding the impact that domestic violence charges or a DUI arrest can have on child custody
- Child custody enforcement and modification
- Child support enforcement and modification
Contact A Twin Cities Family Law Attorney For Child Custody Representation In Minnesota
Get the dialogue started with a knowledgeable lawyer who can guide you through the challenges of a divorce, a child custody modification or any family law matter. Schedule a consultation by calling our Minnetonka law offices at 612-285-3756 or submitting an inquiry through this website.