Understanding Legal Custody Decisions

In 2012, a mother from Minnetonka, Minnesota decided to pursue alternative remedies (other than chemotherapy) for her eight-year-old daughter with cancer. Doctors had successfully removed the girl's brain tumor, and there were no signs of the cancer having spread. The doctors fought the mother's decision to pursue alternative remedies, arguing that her daughter was still in danger and needed treatment. The mother risked losing custody of her daughter and finally relented to the doctors wishes.

Deciding Child Custody In Minnesota

Raising a child is never easy. Children need constant love, attention and direction. When parents decide to separate or divorce, perhaps the most sensitive and often contentious issue becomes who gets custody of the children. In Minnesota, the law recognizes two types of custody: physical custody (where the child resides) and legal custody (the right to make important decisions regarding the child's upbringing, such as their religion, schooling, and health care).

In Minnesota, custody is determined by what is in the best interests of the child. In a divorce, it is often the case that the parents have developed different viewpoints about many aspects, including how they want to raise their children and handle issues such as:

  • In what religion, if any, their children will be raised
  • To what school to send the child, including deciding between public or private school
  • Medical and dental care, which can include vaccinations, therapies or critical decisions when a child is ill
  • Access to other family, such as grandparents
  • Lifestyle and money issues regarding how to raise the child
  • The limits placed on the child's access to the Internet, video games, music and other available modern media and entertainment

Understanding Joint Legal Custody

In Minnesota, it is presumed that both parents sharing joint legal custody is in the best interests of the child. This is, indeed, often true, but in other situations, it may not be in the child's best interest - e.g. when the parents are not able to effectively communicate with each other or there is a history of domestic abuse.

Speak With Our Caring Attorneys About Child Custody

If you are going through a divorce, our caring and experienced Minnesota child custody attorneys can help you resolve or, if necessary, litigate custody disputes, so you and your children are protected and can build your future. Call 612-254-6409 to schedule a free initial consultation, or contact our firm online.