What is Legal Custody?

Legal custody refers to major decisions regarding your child, including their health, education, and religious upbringing.

Legal custody can be either “sole” or “joint.” If the parties are awarded joint legal custody, it means that they both have the equal right to make decisions regarding any of the major issues concerning the child. If one party is awarded sole legal custody, it means that he or she has the exclusive and sole authority to make the major decisions regarding the minor child.

There is a legal presumption in Minnesota that Joint Legal Custody is in the best interests of a minor child unless that presumption is rebutted by the other party (e.g. showing that there was domestic abuse in the relationship.).

What is Physical Custody?

Physical custody refers to the main residence, care, and control of the minor child.

It can also be thought of in terms of the “day-to-day care” of the child. The award of physical custody is determined by an analysis of the “best interests” of the minor child for which the Court considers the twelve statutory best interest factors (note: the best interest statute was recently changed on August 1, 2015).

The parties can also choose to agree to an award of custody. “Joint physical custody” means that the minor child is spending approximately an equal amount of time with both parents at different residences. Physical custody is often shared by both parents as joint physical custody. Judges often grant joint physical custody when the parents live close to each other and get along well.

In contrast, sole physical custody means that one parent gets primary custody of the child. The other parent is granted parenting time with the child so they can spend time together. The amount of parenting time granted is used to calculate the amount of child support that the non-custodial parent has to pay.

Even in an amicable divorce, coming to an agreement on child custody can pose significant challenges. With the help of an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney, you can ensure that your children’s best interests are met.

At Alithis Family Law, our lawyers pride themselves on how they serve our clients. Please reach out today for your free consultation—you can call our office at (952) 800-2025 or contact us by email at info@alithisfamilylaw.com.

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