Experienced Child Custody Lawyers in St. Paul, Minnesota

One of the most difficult, unique and time-consuming issues in a divorce case is determining the custody of minor children. The family law attorneys at Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC have extensive experience handling custody matters that arise during divorce, as well as cases involving paternity and grandparents' rights. We have represented mothers and fathers in trials and negotiations, and understand how to navigate complicated and sensitive situations.

Determining Child Custody in Minnesota

In Minnesota, there are two components of custody. There is the issue of "legal custody," which is the right to determine a child's upbringing, including decisions relative to education, religion and health care, and there is "physical custody," which refers to the routine daily care and residence of the child. In evaluating and deciding custody, courts determine the best interests of the child by considering the following factors:

  • The wishes of each parent
  • The reasonable preference of a child if the court determines that the child is of sufficient age to express a preference
  • Who has been the child's primary caretaker
  • The intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child
  • The interaction and interrelationship of a child with parents, siblings, and any other person that may materially affect a child's best interests
  • A child's adjustments to home, school, and community
  • The length of time a child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment, and the desirability to maintain continuity
  • The permanence of a family unit in the existing or proposed custodial home
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • The capacity and disposition of each parent to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and the ability to continue to educate and raise the child in the child's culture and religion or creed, if any
  • The effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent
  • Except in cases where a finding of domestic abuse has been made, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent and the child

When one parent has primary custody, the non-custodial parent has the right to "parenting time" (formerly called visitation) with the child. In many cases, we are able to help parents work out a parenting schedule during the divorce process, which then becomes part of the court's custody order at the time a divorce is finalized. We also help with child support, which may be affected by parenting time, and will assist in all related family law matters simultaneously.


In addition to handling child custody in the divorce context, Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC assists clients with custody matters that often arise after paternity has been established.

Grandparents' Rights

In some instances, a parent may unreasonably restrict a grandparent's access to his or her grandchild, or a grandparent may be his or her grandchild's primary caregiver. Our attorneys can help grandparents seek parenting time rights or obtain legal guardianship of grandchildren. We can also help parents retain custody of their children in contested situations.

Talk to a Knowledgeable, Caring Lawyer about Custody of Your Children

Custody is an extremely complex area of family law, requiring the knowledge and expertise of a seasoned family law attorney. At Bowden ♦ Cyr, PLLC, we possess the experience, skill and sensitivity to handle even the most complicated family law matters. For a free initial consultation, please contact our office in St. Paul.