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Child custody basics every Minnesota parent should know

Child custody can become a heated issue during Minnesota divorces. It is important for parents getting divorced to understand the basics of child custody so they know what to expect and what challenges may surface during their divorce proceedings.

Under Minnesota law, there are two types of child custody, legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions on how to raise the child, which includes decisions on education, religion and health care. Physical custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions about routing day-to-day activities and where the child will live.

Parents are able to share custody, which is usually called joint custody. Parents may share physical or legal custody, or both. Joint legal custody means that both parents are responsible for making decisions on how to raise their child. Parents are encouraged to work together to make decisions regarding their child's education, religious upbringing and health care.

Joint physical custody means that both parents are responsible for their child's day-to-day activities and the child lives with both parents based on a structured schedule.

Not all parents want or are awarded joint custody. One parent may be awarded sole custody, which allows one parent to make all of the previously discussed decisions for his or her child.

In addition to learning about the different types of custody, it is important for divorced parents to understand parenting time. "Parenting time" or visitation is when the non-custodial parent spends time with the child. Parenting time orders are usually set by a judge by can also be determined between ex-spouses and their attorneys.

These are just the basics of child custody in Minnesota. Parents who are getting a divorce should work with a family law attorney to understand the child custody determination process and impact of child custody decisions.

Source: Self Help Center, "Basics on Child Custody & Parenting Time"

Our law firm represents parents going through divorce. To learn more about our law firm, please visit our Minnesota child custody page.

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