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A look at how child custody is determined in Minnesota


Child custody is an important concern for most divorcing parents. As a result, it can be helpful for parents approaching the divorce process to understand how child custody concerns are commonly handled. In Minnesota, the law provides for two different types of custody, including legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody generally refers to the right to make decisions for the care of the child, such as decisions concerning the education, religious training and health care of the child. Physical custody refers to where the child lives and the right to make day-to-day decisions for the child. Depending on the circumstances, legal and physical custody of the child can be joint or sole. Parents may share either or both legal or physical custody of the child or one parent may have sole legal or physical custody.

Child custody determinations can vary based on the unique needs of different families and circumstances.

Child custody decisions depend on several factors, and parents may share the decision-making responsibility for children. Whatever child custody arrangements are decided upon for a family, determinations are always focused on what is in the best interests of the child.

Child custody can be a challenging aspect of any divorce, as it is likely to involve strong concerns and emotions for families. Knowing how the family law process is designed to help create child custody arrangements that are in the best interests of the children and that help fit the unique needs of families can help resolve child custody determinations, concerns and disputes in a peaceful manner.

Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch, "Child Custody & Parenting Time," Accessed Feb. 7, 2016

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