The Minnesota Best Interest Factors – What Will Happen In My Custody Case in Anoka County?

There are two types of custody in Minnesota. Legal custody is generally the right to determine how your child is raised in regard to education, health care and religion. Physical custody means the daily care and control of the child. In a divorce case where there are minor children, or in a custody case when the parents were never married, the court will determine the custody of the minor children.

Of course, the court will only have to decide the custody of the minor children if the parents are unable to reach an agreement on their own. Generally, the Judge will make it clear at the Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC) that it is preferable for the parents to decide what will happen to their children in a divorce or custody case. At the ICMC, the Judge will also determine whether the parties are agreeable to participating in social early neutral evaluation (SENE) during which issues related to custody and parenting time are addressed. At an SENE usually one male and one female evaluator will sit down with the parties and their attorneys to see if, despite the parent’s differences with one another, they can come to an agreement on how they will raise their child or children together.

Sometimes the parties are unable to reach an agreement at the SENE but it helps to narrow the issues and they keep working toward settlement. Pretrial is another time to attempt to reach an agreement prior to going to trial and having the Judge decide who will have custody of the children and how much parenting time will be awarded to each party.

If the parties are unable to reach an agreement, they will present their case to a Judge at a trial. At trial, the parties will present evidence concerning “The Best Interest Factors” which are articulated in Minnesota Statute 518.17. These are the twelve (12) factors that the court will consider including the history and nature of each parent’s participation in providing care for the child; the willingness 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. Any special needs of a child will be considered and any physical, mental, or chemical health issue of a parent that affect the child’s safety or development will be examined. It is recommended that any party in a custody case review the complete list of best interest factors found in the statute so that they understand what factors the court will consider in their case. Of course, it is also extremely important to consult an attorney to guide you through this process!

Contact Schneider, Baudler & Abbott PC

If you are facing a divorce or child custody battle or if you need legal advice on any child support matter, it is important to speak to a qualified family law attorney right away. The sooner you make the call, the quicker our lawyers can get to work on your case and the better for everyone involved, especially the children. Contact Schneider, Baudler & Abbott PC today at 763-315-1100 or by e-mail to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced divorce lawyers.

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