Basics of Divorce – Types of Custody

My next several postings will focus on custody and parenting time. There are 2 different types of custody in Minnesota, legal custody and physical custody.

Legal custody is defined as the right to determine a child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training. There is a very strong presumption under Minnesota law that parents will share joint legal custody; that both parents will participate in making major decisions in a child’s life. However, that presumption can be overcome upon proof of domestic abuse by one parent against the other or that there is such a strong divide between parents on the issue of education, health care and/or religion that it would be detrimental to the child to not select one parent to make those decisions. In those cases, one parent would be awarded sole legal custody.

Physical custody is defined as the routine daily care and control and residence of a child. Like, legal custody, physical custody can be awarded to one parent solely or to both parties jointly. However, unlike legal custody, there is no preference under the law for one form of physical custody over the other. Rather, physical custody is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Minnesota law sets forth several factors that must be addressed when a Court determines whether custody will be awarded to one parent or both parents. My next post will address those factors.

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