Reichert Wenner P.A.
St. Cloud Full-Service Law Firm
320-316-1196

How do Minnesota courts decide child custody?

Minnesota appears to be a relatively good state to be in if you want your marriage to work out. It has one of the lowest divorce rates in the country with only 12.8 individuals out of every 1,000 married people to go through divorce as of 2017. 

For couples who do file for divorce in the state, the main thing on both spouses' mind will most likely be child custody. For people about to embark on a court trial of this nature should familiarize themselves with the process to know what to expect. 

Different types of custody

First, it is important to understand there are two types of custody parents can have with children: legal and physical. When most people hear child custody, their immediate thoughts probably turn to physical custody and how often each parent gets to see the child. Legal custody refers to who ultimately makes the decisions regarding a child's health and well-being. Legal custody can also refer to how the parents will raise the child in regards to religion. It is possible for both parents to receive joint physical and legal custody, or one parent may receive sole physical custody while the other only has a say in health matters. 

Factors to determine a child's best interest

A judge will take numerous factors into consideration to determine what would be best for the child. This may include listening to the child's preference, although the age of the child plays a significant role in this. Additional factors Minnesota courts may take into consideration include:

  • The wishes of the child's parents
  • The child's cultural background
  • The physical and mental health of the child and both parents
  • How any alterations will impact a child's schooling 
  • The personal relationship each parent has with the child
  • Who appears to be the primary caretaker for the child
  • The length of time the child has lived in the present home
  • How willing each parent is to allow the other parent to see the child

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