Determining Fair Child Custody Arrangements

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.

Contact our attorneys at 612-254-6409 if you need help establishing child custody. Nothing is more important than your children, and we will do everything we can to protect your relationship with them.

How Is Child Custody Determined 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:

  • A child's physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child's needs and development;
  • Any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services;
  • The reasonable preference of a child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference;
  • Whether domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, has occurred in the parents' or either parent's household or relationship; the nature and context of the domestic abuse; and the implications of the domestic abuse for parenting and for the child's safety, well-being, and developmental needs;
  • Any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child's safety or developmental needs;
  • The history and nature of each parent's participation in providing care for the child;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child; to meet the child's ongoing developmental, emotional, spiritual, and cultural needs; and to maintain consistency and follow through with parenting time;
  • The effect on the child's well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community;
  • The effect of the proposed arrangements on the ongoing relationships between the child and each parent, siblings, and other significant persons in the child's life;
  • The benefit to the child in maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child in limiting parenting time with either parent;
  • Except in cases in which domestic abuse as described in clause (4) has occurred, the disposition of each parent to support the child's relationship with the other parent and to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact between the child and the other parent; and
  • The willingness and ability of parents to cooperate in the rearing of their child; to maximize sharing information and minimize exposure of the child to parental conflict; and to utilize methods for resolving disputes regarding any major decision concerning the life of the child. (Source:

When one parent has primary custody, the noncustodial 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.

Establishing Custody Plans For Both Parents

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

Protecting 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.

Speak With A Caring Lawyer About Child Custody

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 at our Woodbury office, please call 612-254-6409. You can also contact our office online.