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Ben Kaasa Practices Family Law, Child Custody Law, Divorce Law, and More in Duluth, MN
Child Custody in Minnesota

Whether going through a divorce or in a situation where paternity has been established, child custody is a matter that can come about at practically any time. It can be a complicated issue in which emotions run high, yet the children must be spared from as much of the conflict as possible.

If you are seeking custody of your children, you are going through a divorce in which child custody is an issue, or you need to defend against the other parent’s request for custody of the children, you need an experienced Duluth family law attorney by your side every step of the way in order to obtain the best result for you and your children.

Skilled Child Custody Representation

There are two types of child custody. Those types are:

  • Physical custody – The parent who has the responsibility of meeting the day-to-day needs of the child has physical custody.
  • Legal custody – the parent who has the responsibility for making major decisions regarding the child’s welfare, health, and education has legal custody.

Parents can share physical and legal custody or each parent can have one or the other. If the parents do not agree on a custody arrangement, then the court will make the decision based on the best interests of the child(ren).

Helping Ensure the Best Interests Of The Children

Everyone involved in the proceedings is interested in ensuring the best interests of the children. This is why there is a number of points that are evaluated. Those points are:

  • The wishes of the parents and the child
  • If the child is a sufficient age, the preference of the child
  • Who currently takes care of the child
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and anyone else in the household
  • The child’s adjustment to the community, home, and school
  • The length of time the child has been in a stable home and the desirability to maintain
  • The mental and physical state of all individuals involved, excluding disabilities
  • The capacity of each party to give the child the love and guidance they need
  • The cultural background of the child
  • Whether any domestic abuse has occurred between the parents or to the child
  • The disposition of each parent to permit and encourage contact by the other parent

A neutral evaluator will evaluate these points and reports their findings to the court, so that the appropriate custody arrangement can be established. During this process, your Duluth child custody lawyer will be there to help you.

Father’s Rights

Matters surrounding fathers’ rights are very sensitive. A father wants to exercise his rights when it comes to his children. Perhaps this is the right to visitation, the right to support the children, or even the right to seek custody. Whatever the matter, it is very important that a father be a part of his child’s life.

If you are facing a fathers’ rights issue, an experienced Duluth custody lawyer can help you through it. You will receive the guidance you need, as well as straightforward and honest advice that will help you secure a favorable result.

Compassionate Representation For Fathers

Helping fathers exercise their rights is not meant to be anti-female or anti-mom; it is about giving the father the equal opportunity to be a part of the lives of his children. Regardless of his relationship with the mother, a father needs to have a role in the upbringing of his children, whether that is by visiting them or sharing custody of them.

Fathers do have the right to visit their children, they have their right to request custody of their children, and they can modify child support or visitation orders as necessary. If the mother requests to move to another state with the child, it is the right of the father to oppose the move. It is very important to listen to a father’s voice when it comes to his children.

Addressing Father’s Rights in Divorce

A child’s father still has rights, regardless of the nature of their relationship with the mother. Sometimes, however, they must take a paternity test. This is done through a Recognition of Parentage, which is a document that the parent’s sign to acknowledge that the father is the father. The father may also choose DNA testing.

Once the father proves he is the father, or his marriage to the mother at the time of the child’s birth, he has the right to obtain visitation to his child and fight for custody. He can also pay child support to help support his child.

As far as divorce, Minnesota is a “no-fault” state, which means only one party needs to request a divorce, and does not need to provide any reasons. The courts consider the best interests of any children involved.

If a father wins custody of his children, then it will be the mother who has to pay child support. Depending on her financial status, she may even have to pay spousal support. Fathers do have the right to request any support they need to care for the children in their custody.

Physical Placement & Parenting Time

Different states have expressed when and how much time a child or children will spend with their parents using different terminology. Minnesota expresses this through the term “parenting time” while Wisconsin uses the phrase “physical placement.” The common synonym for both terms used to be “visitation.”

Parents must give very deliberate, careful thought about what schedule will best serve their children.  A few of the key elements in creating a “visitation” schedule include the school and activity routines of the child, the distance that the parties live from each other, the work schedule of each party, any special needs the child may have, whether domestic abuse has occurred and the involvement of third parties in make the schedule work.  Visits between parents and children can be supervised or unsupervised.  A judge may reserve supervised visits for situations whereby a child’s safety is affected by a condition or situation created by a parent.

A parent should also give careful thought to how a child will spend his or her holiday, summer and school breaks when the child is of sufficient age to attend school.  A parent should give reflection to what his or her past family traditions have been when it comes to major religious and secular holidays.  A parent that has limited time with a child during a school year most likely will see an increased amount of time during non-schooling months.

At the end of the day, a parent must come to grips quickly with the notion that judges, evaluators, mediators, attorneys and guardian ad litems are not concerned about what schedule is most ideal for a child’s parents; this is all about your child. Parents must agree upon a schedule that will allow a child to continue having both parents in his or her life.

Finally, parenting time or physical placement has an impact on the amount of child support paid by one parent.  Generally speaking, the more parenting time that a parent has with a child, the less they pay in child support.  Parents with equal parenting time or physical placement may not need to pay any support.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney

Child custody is a very serious family legal matter that requires a great deal of care. It is important to have an attorney who can guide you through the process. To talk to an experienced child custody lawyer, call the Benjamin Kaasa Law Office, PLLC at 218-464-3397 for a consultation.