While the overwhelming majority of child custody cases are settled outside of court, in the state of Minnesota, a judge will make a custody decision if you and your spouse can’t come to an agreement. When it comes to resolving child custody issues, there are a number of factors that may need to be taken into consideration.
Minnesota Child Custody Factors
Of the many factors the court will consider, some of the more common include:
The Child’s Primary Caretaker
The court will consider who the child’s primary caretaker was before the divorce proceeding, but this is only one of the factors.
The Child’s or Parents’ Wishes
The court may also consider the child’s wishes or the wishes of the parents when making custody decisions. Know that in Minnesota, a child’s wishes will only be taken into consideration if he or she is of a certain maturity. Because young children are still very vulnerable to a parent’s influence, their wishes will not hold as much weight as an older child’s wishes.
The Child’s Relationship with Each Parent
The judge will also consider the relationship the child has with each parent. If he or she has an emotional attachment to one parent, the judge may determine that it’s within the child’s best interest to stay with that parent. On the other hand, if one parent has shown signs of neglect or abuse, the court may order custody to the other parent as a result.
The Mental and Physical Health of All Parties
Occasionally, a parent’s physical or mental health may prevent them from providing the child with the care they need. Or, one parent may not be equipped to care for a child with special mental or physical needs. If this is the case, the judge will factor this limitation into the final decision.
The Child’s Cultural Background
If a child is accustomed to a certain cultural upbringing, then uprooting the child and requiring him or her to adjust to a completely new cultural upbringing may disrupt the child’s life or cause confusion. This may be enough that the judge uses it in their decision.
The Stability of the Proposed Custodial Home
Ensuring that the child has a secure and stable home is of the utmost importance. The judge will consider the stability of the proposed custodial home.
Each Parent’s Capacity to Provide the Child with Love, Guidance, Affection and Education
The judge will also consider each parent’s ability to provide the child with a happy, healthy and stable home. Factors like the parent’s capacity to provide guidance, affection, love and the continuance of education are important. The parent’s ability to continue raising the child in the child’s religious creed or culture may also be important factors depending on the case.
These are just a few of the many factors Minnesota courts may consider when resolving child custody issues. Ultimately, the child’s best interests overall will decide custody.