Basics of Child Custody in MN

Understanding Common Questions of Child CustodyRequest a Legal Consultation with a Lawyer from Anderson Law

When does child custody and parenting time become an issue?

Child custody and parenting time disputes can become an issue in many ways, including some of the following:
  1. When a married couple are filing for divorce or legal separation;
  2. In court actions for paternity and domestic abuse;
  3. When a child lives with and is cared for by a third party, such as a grandparent or legal guardian; and
  4. If a child is involved in a “child in need of protective services” (CHIPS) case or a juvenile delinquency case.

Types of Child Custody in Minnesota

Under Minnesota law, there are two types of child custody.

  1. Legal custody” refers to the right to make decisions about how to raise the child, including decisions about education, health care, and religious training.
  2. Physical custody” refers to the right to make decisions about the routine day-to-day activities of the child and where the child lives.

Depending on several factors, parents may share custody, which is often called “joint” physical and/or legal custody. Or, one of them may have “sole” physical and/or legal custody. NOTE: The custody arrangement could be different for each child in a family.

Joint legal custody” means that both parents share the responsibility for making decisions regarding how to raise the child, including the right to participate in major decisions about the child’s education, health care, and religious training.

Joint physical custody” means that the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child is structured between both of the parents.

What is “parenting time?”

Parenting time,” also commonly referred to as “visitation,” refers to the time the non-custodial parent spends with a child, regardless of the labels used in the custody arrangement. Parenting time is often set according to a schedule as a result of a court order.

A custody action usually requires living in Minnesota for180 days

Generally, in order to have your child custody issues decided by a judge in Minnesota, the child must have lived in Minnesota with a parent or a person acting as a parent for at least six (6) consecutive months (180 days) before starting the court process. There are exceptions for emergency situations.

NOTE: If you live in Minnesota but your child lives with the other parent in another state, your case may be more complicated. You can read the law on “interstate custody” online at MN Statutes Ch. 518D.