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What types of child custody exist in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, as in other U.S. states, parenting and child custody can become complicated issues when a couple files for divorce. Child custody can also become an issue if domestic violence is reported against a parent, if a child lives with another family member, such as a grandparent, or if a juvenile delinquency case has been reported against a child.

There are two types of child custody in Minnesota: physical custody and legal custody. If a parent has legal custody, it means that the parent makes all major decisions about the child, such as health care, education and religious training. If a parent has physical custody, it means that the parent has the right to make decisions about the daily activities of the child. Parents often share custody, which is called joint custody. In the best interest of the child, most U.S. courts grant joint custody to parents unless, of course, there is a justifiable reason not to do so, such as an issue of domestic violence against one of the parents.

Parenting time, also referred to as visitation, is the time that a non-custodial parent spends with the child. For a court to decide on issues related to child custody, the child must have lived in Minnesota for a minimum of three months. However, the child custody case may become complex if one parent lives with the child in Minnesota while the other parent is a resident of another state.

In child custody cases, another difficult factor is the idea that there is a lot of paperwork. The specific forms depend on the type of legal case.

Source: MNCourts.gov, "Basics on Child Custody & Parenting Time," Accessed on Sept. 30, 2014

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