When parents separate or file for divorce in Minnesota, children are often the unwilling participants of the separation as well. In most cases, small children do not have a say as to which parent they would prefer to live with. Instead, the court may determine what is best for the child and order child custody accordingly. You may also design your own child custody schedule through mediation. Whatever the case may be, there are certain factors considered when choosing what type of custody is best for your child. 

The first thing a judge may consider when determining child custody is which parent was the primary caretaker of the child during the marriage. Did one parent stay home with the child while the other parent worked? Was one parent more involved in the child’s education, extracurricular activities and social life? This is often the parent that will receive primary physical custody of the child. 

In some cases, however, you may decide that joint-custody is achievable in your situation. Studies show that most children do best when they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents. It also depends on the age of the children. A judge may look at each parents’ living environment, school district and proximity to the other parent. The goal is to keep children’s lives as similar as possible to what they were used to when the parents were married. 

This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.