Many people come in to our office and say that they want a “percentage” of custody. That is not how the process works. In Minnesota, there are custody labels and parenting time. More specifically, “Legal Custody” refers to the right to determine a child’s upbringing, including major decisions related education, health care, and religious training. “Physical Custody” refers to the routine daily care and control and the residence of a child. The custody labels can be joint, or shared between parents; or sole, awarded to only one parent. Separate from custody labels is “Parenting Time”. Parenting Time is the actual court-ordered schedule that parents follow with their children.
In determining custody labels and a parenting time schedule, the Court is required to examine the child’s best interests. There are twelve factors that are looked at, including:
(1) a child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development;
(2) any special medical, mental health, developmental disability, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services;
(3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference;
(4) whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred in the parents’ or either parent’s household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child’s safety, well-being, and developmental needs;
(5) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs;
(6) the history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child;
(7) the willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child; to meet the child’s ongoing developmental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs; and to maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time;
(8) the effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community;
(9) the effect of the proposed arrangements on the ongoing relationships between the child and each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child’s life;
(10) the benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent;
(11) except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent; and
(12) the willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child.
If you have questions regarding custody or parenting time, please contact us for a free consultation. We can be reached at 952-746-2350 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
See Minnesota Statutes Sections 518.003 & 518.17.