For parents who are going through a divorce, the long-term happiness and proper care of their children is paramount. As a parent, you may be concerned about the amount of time you’ll get to spend with your kids once the divorce is finalized. If so, your goal should be to negotiate fair arrangements that will allow your children to continue living the fulfilling life they’ve always enjoyed.
Child Custody Lawyer in Edina, MN
Child Custody is a sensitive and emotionally draining aspect of any separation involving children. It’s very important that it be handled carefully and respectfully by an experienced attorney who can provide valuable insight. This is especially true if you had hoped for peaceful mediation but have not been able to come to an agreement with your ex-spouse.
Located in Edina, MN, Beth Barbosa knows this better than anyone due to her numerous years of work as a family law attorney in Edina (over 20 years in total). Beth has handled many particularly complex cases and is known for her ability to negotiate favorable custody outcomes, navigate the division of assets, and resolve other high-tension issues with ease.
Types of Child Custody
There are two different types of custody that will need to be determined. The first, physical custody, simply refers to where the child or children will be living. Physical custody can be granted entirely to one parent, called sole custody, or split between both parents, which would mean physical custody is joint.
The second type of custody, legal custody, relates to making major decisions regarding the education, religion, and health of your child. Regardless of the court’s determination of physical custody, legal custody is generally shared 50-50 between parents. Generally, the hope is that parents can make important decisions for their children together. That will only change if there are extenuating circumstances with one parent’s ability to make sound decisions for their child.
Fighting for Fair Children Custody
The court’s goal is to determine what is in the best interest of the child. The more you and your ex-spouse can agree upon regarding custody, the less will generally be left up to the courts. However, the topic of custody is extremely emotionally charged, and unfortunately, you and your ex may not see eye-to-eye regarding how your child’s time should be spent. Edina attorney, Beth Barbosa, will work to ensure the least turbulent negotiation process possible for you and your children. She understands that no asset is worth protecting more than your family, and she will fight for a custody arrangement with which you feel comfortable.
Parenting Time in Edina, MN
Even once custody is determined, there is a lot left to decide regarding parenting time. It is the amount of time that each – parent is allotted to spend with the children. Regardless of which parent has custody of the children, both parents are entitled to parenting time. The amount of parenting time awarded varies with each case based on many factors. Generally, though, Minnesota has established a presumption minimum of 25% parenting time for the non-custodial parent. This can certainly be overruled if it is considered detrimental to the child in some way.
If the parties involved can agree to parenting time and custody, they will retain the most control over deciding what is in their child’s best interest. If you are unable to agree to these terms with your former spouse, the court will make the determination for your child.
If you need a caring, experienced attorney to help you through the difficult process of determining custody and parenting time in Edina, MN, contact Beth Barbosa to get started.
Child Custody FAQs
The most important factor when determining child custody in Minnesota is whether the arrangement is in the child’s best interests. The courts consider many criteria to determine the child’s best interest: evidence of parenting ability from each parent, consistency in the child’s routine, safety, the child’s age, and more. You can show the court that you should have primary custody of your child by demonstrating your past involvement in his life. If you’ve been active as a volunteer at his school, have been involved in his extracurricular activities, and have made sound parenting decisions, the courts will take this all into consideration.
There is no specific age when a child is permitted to express custodial preference. It’s possible that an older child’s opinion will have more bearing to the courts than a younger child’s since older kids can conceptualize custody arrangements. However, the courts will always take into account a number of factors when determining child custody. They do so to ensure the child’s needs are met and the custody arrangement is in the child’s best interest. If a child does express an interest in living with one parent, both parents can agree to a custody arrangement that honors that request.
The Minnesota court system may terminate the rights of a parent if they are considered unfit. If these rights are terminated the other parent will have sole physical and legal custody of the child. The courts evaluate a parent’s involvement in their child’s life and their past parenting decisions to determine whether they are fit to continue parenting. If a parent has abandoned their child they may have their rights terminated. In addition, a parent who has been ordered to pay child support and has repeatedly not paid it may be considered unfit. The statute also says that if “the parent has substantially, continuously, or repeatedly refused or neglected to comply with the duties imposed upon that parent by the parent and child relationship” they may have their rights terminated.
If a mother was not married at the time of the conception and birth of her child, she is awarded sole physical and legal custody of that child until paternity has been established. A father may petition the court to order paternity testing. Once paternity has been established, that father then has the right to petition the court for custody of the child. At that point the courts will evaluate what is in the best interest of the child. If a father has willingly distanced himself from his child in the past, it is likely the courts will determine that the mother can retain custody of the child. However, any parent has the right to request custody of their child in Minnesota; a child custody attorney can advise you on the necessary steps if you’re trying to establish paternity or petition the courts for custody.
Child custody determinations will vary by case. Some people believe fathers have no chance of getting custody of their children in a divorce or co-parenting arrangement, but that’s simply not the case. During modern divorces, the courts are much more concerned with what is in the best interest of the child and aren’t determined to “keep the child with his mother.” Whether you’re a mother or father, you shouldn’t assume anything about how child custody will shake out during your divorce. If you’re seeking primary or sole custody, you’ll need to work with a Minnesota child custody attorney to present the best case possible.
Simply, joint custody means both parents have assigned time with the child, and sole custody means the child lives with one parent full time. The parent with sole custody can still choose to allow visitation from the non-custodial parent, but the custodial parent will have the ultimate power to make decisions about the child’s well-being. If there is a joint custody arrangement, both parents may agree on decisions concerning the child’s welfare. They may split their time with the child 50/50, or the child may live predominantly with one parent. Joint custody is more common than sole custody because generally both parents want to be involved in the child’s life. Unless a parent is considered unfit by the court they will be granted some time with their child.
Child support and child custody are considered completely separate. The time a child spends with each parent will not have any bearing on whether the other parent must pay child support. However, parents can decline child support if they are in agreement. For example, if your co-parent has primary or sole custody of your child, you may be able to agree that you will not need to pay child support even if you make more money than your co-parent (as long as the other parent can still adequately provide for your child). If you end up going to court over child support, the courts will look at the needs of the child versus the income of both parents to determine whether child support must be paid.
To obtain full custody of your child you will need to petition the courts and provide solid evidence that it’s in the best interest of the child. The courts like to see children spend time with both parents whenever possible, so they will not simply grant you full custody because you’ve asked. You must have a compelling reason why your co-parent is not fit to share custody. You can speak to an Edina child custody attorney to determine whether you have a solid argument for obtaining full custody of your child. Your attorney will explain the criteria the courts use to determine what is in the best interest of your child.
Yes, there is a Minnesota statute that is designed to ensure grandparents can remain active participants in their grandkids’ lives regardless of the custody arrangement. In addition, grandparents can seek third party custody if they believe it’s in the best interest of the child. The courts evaluate all familial relationships when determining whether third party custody is a good fit. If you are a grandparent who believes your grandchild’s parents should not have custody of him or her, talk to a child custody lawyer in Minnesota about how to pursue third party custody.
You certainly should consider compiling evidence in your own custody case; it could be exactly what’s needed to win the case! Having solid custody evidence is vital to prevailing in court. It can also save you time and money. You should start preparing evidence right away so it doesn’t get lost in the shuffle of preparing for your custody case. One way to ensure this doesn’t happen is to keep a journal of interactions you have with your co-parent and the interactions they have with your child. It can sometimes be difficult to determine which documents you will need for your case, so make sure to consult your Minnesota child custody lawyer before getting rid of any documents.
You can take several approaches to obtain custody of your child after your divorce. The lowest-conflict option would be to meet with your spouse and determine a custody and parenting plan to which you can both agree. This will likely mean you’ll come to an agreement for joint custody. However, if you don’t believe your spouse should have joint custody of your child, you will likely need to petition the courts to obtain sole custody. This process will require you to prove it is not in your child’s best interest for his other parent to have partial custody. The courts look at a number of criteria to reach a conclusion in child custody cases, so talk to your Minnesota child custody lawyer about the specifics.
Child Custody is a sensitive and emotionally draining aspect of any separation involving children. Beth Barbosa knows this better than anyone due to her numerous years of work on child custody cases in Minnesota. Beth has handled many particularly complex cases and is known for her ability to negotiate favorable custody outcomes, navigate the division of assets and resolve other high-tension issues with ease. If you’d like to work with a child custody attorney who will work to ensure the least turbulent negotiation process possible for you and your children, you should consider hiring Beth Barbosa to represent you in your child custody case.