Determining child custody can be a challenging process for most parents during divorce. Understanding how child custody is determined can help divorcing parents work through child custody concerns as they determine both physical and legal custody of their child.
Child custody factors in Minnesota
Child custody determinations are made based on an evaluation of a host of different factors. The factors used to determine child custody include:
- The needs of the child including their physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual and other needs and how the child custody arrangement would impact the child’s needs and development;
- Any special needs of the child including medical, mental or educational;
- The history and nature of each parent’s participation in caring for the child;
- The willingness and ability of each parent to provide ongoing care for the child and provide for the child’s developmental, emotional, spiritual and cultural needs and to maintain consistency related to parenting time;
- The impact of changes to home, school and community on the child’s well-being and development.
- The impact of the custody arrangement on the child’s relationships with each parent, siblings and other significant people in the child’s life;
- The benefit to the child of maximizing parenting time with both parents and the detriment to the child of limiting parenting time and contact with either parent;
- The disposition of each of the parents to encourage the child to have a relationship with the other parent and permit continuing contact between the child and the other parent;
- The ability and willingness of the parents to cooperate in raising the child and use dispute resolution methods to resolve disputes;
- The reasonable preference of the child based on the age and maturity of the child;
- Any history of domestic abuse between the parents or in the household;
- Any physical, mental or chemical dependency health issue of the parent that can impact the child’s safety or developmental needs.
Be familiar with the child custody determination process
This list of child custody factors is designed to develop a child custody arrangement that is best for the child and supports the overall safety and well being of the child. Because this is the focus of the child custody process, it is helpful for divorcing parents to be familiar with the process to arrive at a child custody arrangement that benefits their child.