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Child Custody In Eagan & Lakeville Minnesota

 Priest Law Firm – Divorce, Child Custody  & Family Law Lawyers 

Child Custody Lawyers

Representing the Rights of Parents Involved in Child Custody Disputes from our offices in Eagan and Lakeville, Minnesota

Child custody can often be one of the most acrimonious and contentious issues in many divorces. In addition, legal issues related to child custody can arise between people who share a child but no longer have a significant personal or romantic relationship. In either case, it’s essential that parents do everything they can do to protect their legal rights with respect to their children. If you are involved in a dispute related to child custody with your child’s other parent, it’s critical that you speak to an attorney right away.

At Priest Law Firm, we know that parents can use child custody as a bargaining chip and how damaging that can be to children. We are dedicated to helping parents try to find an amicable solution to their disagreements, but will not hesitate to aggressively advocate for our clients’ parental rights in court. With over 20 years of experience representing parents in Minnesota courts, we have the skill and knowledge to bring your child custody dispute to the best resolution possible. Call us today to schedule a free 30-minute consultation with a child custody lawyer in Minnesota.

Types of Child Custody in Minnesota

If there are minor children involved in your case and you and your child’s other parent cannot reach an agreement about how to share custody and parenting time, the court will need to determine custody. Minnesota law splits this issue into two components:

  • Legal custody (responsibility for major decisions involving health, religion and education); and
  • Physical custody (responsibility for the day-to-day care of a child)

Physical and legal custody can be assumed by one parent (sole) or shared in some manner by both parents (joint).

How Do Minnesota Courts Determine Child Custody?

Courts in Minnesota presume that legal custody should be joint with both parents participating in major decisions regarding their children. This presumption can be changed when there is evidence of domestic violence or overcome when one of the parents has an inability to communicate and is unable facilitate the other parent’s involvement in decisions and relationship with the children.

Physical custody is based on the best interests of the child. Minn. Stat. 517(a) requires courts to consider and evaluate all relevant factors, including:

  • (1) a child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development;
  • (2) any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services;
  • (3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference;
  • (4) 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;
  • (5) any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affects the child’s safety or developmental needs;
  • (6) the history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child;
  • (7) 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;
  • (8) the effect on the child’s well-being and development of changes to home, school, and community;
  • (9) 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;
  • (10) 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;
  • (11) 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
  • (12) 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.

Do You Need a Minnesota Child Custody Attorney?

You may be wondering whether you need to retain an attorney to represent you in your child custody case. It’s vital to recognize that child custody law is extremely complicated and that courts have significant discretion in how they resolve child custody disputes. If spending time with your child is something you value, as it is for the overwhelming majority of parents, it’s imperative that you retain an experienced lawyer to represent you. An attorney can advise you how to conduct yourself during the pendency of your case in order to maximize your chances of obtaining a positive result and present your case to the court the strongest terms possible.

Modifying an Existing Child Custody Order

Under Minnesota law, you can modify an existing child custody order under certain circumstances. Perhaps the easiest way to do so is to agree to a modification with the child’s other parent. In the case that you can, the court will simply need to grant your request to modify the order, and will often grant the request without any additional issues. In the case that your child’s other parent does not agree to a modification of an existing order, you can only request that the court modify it after a year has passed since the initial order went into effect unless there is persistent and willful denial of, or interference with parenting time, or the child’s present environment endangers the child. If it has, the court may modify an existing child custody order if you can show that there has been a substantial change to the circumstances that existed at the time of the order and that a modification would be in the best interests of the child. It’s important to be aware of the fact that it can be surprisingly difficult to modify child custody orders in Minnesota. Just to have a court consider the issue of custody modification, the legal pleadings must comply with certain legal requirements or the court is required to dismiss the request at the first court hearing. So if you are considering seeking a modification, you should speak to a lawyer as soon as you can.

Call Priest Law Firm, Today to Speak to a Minnesota Child Custody Attorney about Your Case

If you are involved in a child custody dispute or believe that one may be on the horizon, it’s important that you speak with a lawyer right away. At Priest Law Firm, we are committed to protecting parents’ rights and helping our clients obtain a child custody arrangement that fits their needs. To schedule a free case 30-minute case evaluation with a child custody lawyer in Minnesota, call our office today at 651-294-2023 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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