Even if two parents are actively involved in their child’s life, it is not uncommon for one to naturally take on more responsibility than the other. In Minnesota, the parent who is primarily responsible for a child’s day-to-day care is considered his or her primary caregiver. Figuring out which parent is the primary caregiver is an important step in creating the best possible child custody agreement.
Divorce can be hard for kids, and child psychologists believe it is extremely important for them to maintain close, regular relationships with their primary caregivers. This is because primary caregivers have generally spent years developing deep bonds with their children. It is that bond that psychologists say is essential for childhood development.
While it might be easy for one family to quickly decide who the primary caretaker is, another might struggle with the decision. One way to reach a conclusion is to go over the list of a child’s daily or regular needs, and then consider which parent meets those needs. Parents could consider asking who:
- Bathes the child?
- Prepares his or her meals?
- Is responsible for health care arrangements?
- Fosters extracurricular activities?
- Helps with homework?
- Communicates with teachers?
The parent who takes on the majority of these types of tasks is usually the child’s primary caretaker. This information should help guide child custody decisions. This does not mean that a primary caretaker will automatically get custody, though. Instead, it is just one of several other important factors that go into creating a child custody agreement in Minnesota.