Working to Establish Custody and Parenting Time for Minnesota Parents
Most parents want what is best for their children when it comes to child custody and visitation issues. The problem is, agreement on these issues can be highly emotional and sensitive. At Vermeulen Law Offices, P.A., we work to protect children from the fallout of divorce while vigorously protecting our clients interests. We will help you to have a clear understanding of Minnesota child custody law and the different aspects of custody and parenting time (sometimes called “visitation”).
I hired Cynthia about 4 years ago to handle my divorce/custody issues. She provided excellent guidance throughout the process. She prepared excellent responses and listened to my concerns. She stayed calm about everything and offered realistic advice. She did not sugar-coat anything and I feel I went into everything knowing my options. I am a rather non-assertive person and she was very assertive yet respectful and I knew she would get me the best result possible. I also have a friend that she represented on a case and he was extremely happy with her services as well.
— Past Client
Determining the Best Interests of a Child
Minnesota Statute § 518.17, subd. 1 outlines several factors that a court considers when deciding on the best interests of a child. These include such factors as the reasonable preference of the child, the child’s primary caretaker, the mental health of all individuals involved, domestic abuse, and a number of other details. We can help you to understand the complexities of child custody law if both parents can’t reach an agreement outside of court.
Types of Child Custody
Custody can be broken down into four types:
- One parent is given both legal and physical custody (also known as “sole custody”)
- Both parents share legal custody, but one is given physical custody (also known as “joint legal custody)
- Both parents share legal and physical custody (also known as “joint physical custody”)
- Parents share legal custody and establish a parenting plan for visitation
Custody plans can differ for each child within a family.
Legal Custody – Legal Custody refers to a parent’s right to make decisions about how a child is raised, educated, cared for medically and religious upbringing.
Physical Custody – Physical custody gives a parent the right to make decisions about where a child lives and their day-to-day activities.
Parenting time most often refers to the time outlined for a “noncustodial” parent to spend with their child or children. This time is determined by a court based on factors such as the age of the child and the type of relationship the noncustodial parent has with the child. Parenting time can be limited or refused if the noncustodial parent if an Order for Protection has been issued because of domestic abuse or if there has been a criminal conviction. In the absence of any evidence of these factors, the noncustodial parent can usually expect to receive at least 25 percent of the parenting time of a child.
Let an Experienced St. Cloud Child Custody Attorney Help You
Child custody situations require an experienced custody lawyer to help you weed through the complexity and gain an understanding of how custody is determined. It is our mission to make these issues easier for you and to protect you and your child or children in the process. It’s as simple as making a phone call. We will give you a clear understanding of child custody and the other issues that surround domestic legal issues.
Modification of an Existing Custody Order
Since custody is determined based on the best interests of the child, any modifications made to an existing order must also reflect those interests. However, modifications can be made to meet the changing needs of the parties and their children. These can sometimes be made without going to court if both parents are in agreement. If changes are contested by either side, a Motion must be filed along with a sworn statement supporting the reason for a desired change. In either case, it is best to work with a qualified child custody attorney to make sure that an agreement is valid.