How Is Child Custody Decided?
At Reichert Wenner P.A., we focus on the most important issue in child custody cases: the well-being of our clients’ children. Custody disputes can be particularly tricky situations, rife with emotion, tension and anxiety. Parents often forget that custody and parenting time conflicts should focus on the children’s needs rather than the parents’ desires.
Some parties to a divorce or custody disputes will, unfortunately, use children as negotiation chips. Neither the parents nor the children win when this happens. Our attorneys in St. Cloud understand that your child’s needs are the most important, both to a judge and to you. We always keep the focus on your children, and will never use them — or allow them to be used — as means of winning a negotiation.
Understandably, one big concern for most parents during a custody dispute is money. Whether it is the cost of raising the child or the cost of child support payments, any custody discussion will involve financial concerns. More important than these monetary concerns, however, are the needs of the children involved.
Should a custody dispute make it to a courtroom, the outcome of the case will hinge on the judge’s decision about one thing only: the best interest of the child. This somewhat vague phrase was intentionally chosen by the Minnesota legislature to give judges a great deal of discretion in child custody matters. While state statutes do list some factors which judges must consider in this decision, ultimately the decision is fully within the judge’s discretion and ability to justify his own choices.
Our attorneys know that a strong relationship with you is in your child’s best interests. We strive to help the court understand this when crafting arguments in support of the parenting time schedule you and your child need.
What Parents Can Do
Focusing on the best interests of the child does not mean that a prior custody decision can’t be changed, or that the lower income earner cannot obtain primary custody of the children. By building your case around what is best for your child, we show the judge that your focus is on your children and not your wallet or petty revenge against the other parent.
Of course, much like any other civil disagreement, the case does not necessarily have to proceed to a judge. At Reichert Wenner, we attempt to (and in fact prefer to) negotiate with the other party to arrive at an agreed-upon parenting schedule that works for both parties. Among other benefits, the opposing party is more likely to keep to a parenting schedule that they had a hand in creating as opposed to one set by a judge.
Remaining Focused On Your Child’s Needs
We understand that, as a dedicated parent, you want what is best for your child and their future. We work with you to clearly evaluate your child’s needs, and to assess what you and your child’s other parent bring to the table in order to meet those needs.
Often, what your child needs, and what you want in terms of custody, will be the same. Alternately, you may decide it’s best to sacrifice some time with your child to ensure that they are able to have a relationship with their other parent. We will support you in doing whatever is best for your child, and work to make sure that they are able to have the time with you that both of you need to foster a strong, enduring relationship.
Whatever the circumstances of your case, Reichert Wenner will fight to preserve your rights and interests, and we will work tirelessly to ensure your children’s future is protected. If you have a new child custody issue, need to modify an existing custody agreement or parenting time order or have questions regarding child custody, call 320-316-1196 or email us today to schedule your consultation.