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How Minnesota handles custody during a contentious divorce

| Dec 28, 2020 | Family Law Services |

Divorce often means a lot of fighting, but some couples are able to agree on terms before they ever go to court. When couples resolve issues about custody and property settlement before filing for divorce, they can have uncontested divorce proceedings which are often faster and cheaper than contested divorces.

If you and your ex aren’t able to cooperate or agree on terms, you will likely have to have a judge review the situation and decide what to do. It can take longer than an uncontested divorce, but there’s the added protection of having the courts review everything carefully.

While it can feel nerve-wracking to have someone else making the decisions about your rights as a parent, judges do their best to respect existing family dynamics. How will a judge make custody decisions in a Minnesota divorce?

The judge has to make decisions about two different kinds of custody

Under Minnesota law, parents have the right to ask for a share of both legal and physical custody of their children. Physical custody determines with whom the child lives and which parent has responsibility for meeting their needs, like nutrition and medical care.

Legal custody, on the other hand, has to do with legal authority. Legal custody allows a parent to make medical and educational decisions on behalf of their child. With both kinds of custody, the judge can decide to award sole custody to one parent or joint custody split between both parents.

How does the judge decide how to split parenting time?

Deciding who should be able to spend time with children in a family isn’t easy. A judge has to look at the family situation carefully to make a decision that is in the best interests of the kids. They will often consider preexisting family dynamics, job responsibilities, the health of parents and children, lifestyle, and finances when determining the best way to divvy up parental responsibilities in a Minnesota divorce.

Unless one parent doesn’t ask for custody or poses some kind of threat to the children, shared custody outcomes are the most likely solution to a pending Minnesota divorce. Preparing for shared custody and pushing for fair and reasonable terms often play a major role in early divorce strategies.