Custody & Parenting
Under Minnesota law, there are two types of child custody:
- “Legal custody” refers to the right to make decisions about how to raise the child, including decisions about education, health care, and religious training.
- “Physical custody” refers to the right to make decisions about the routine day-to-day activities of the child and where the child lives.
Depending on several factors, parents may share custody which is called “joint custody.” If only one parent has full custody, that is called “sole custody.”
“Joint legal custody” means that both parents share the responsibility for making decisions regarding how to raise the child, including the right to participate in major decisions about the child’s education, health care, and religious training. “Joint physical custody” means that the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child is structured between both parents.
There is also the possibility of different combinations of custody of a minor child. For example, both parents might have joint legal custody but only one parent may have sole physical custody.
When considering a petition for custody, Minnesota courts consider what is in the best interest of the child(ren). These best interest factors are established in Minnesota Statute 518.17 and are available to review here.
If you live in Minnesota but your child lives with the other parent in another state, your case may be more complicated. We recommend that you consult with a lawyer experienced in custody matters about where you may be able to file your custody case or modify an existing custody order.