How does the court decide which parent gets custody of the children?
Burnsville, MN family law attorney John Burns talks about how the court decides which parents gets custody of their children in a child custody case.
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Custody cases were much more adversarial four or five years ago, and the reason for that was the designation of custody would drive the child support award. There’s a presumption under Minnesota law that the parties will share joint legal custody and that means making the overall big picture questions, such as where the child will go to school, medical issues, religious issues – that presumption is there, but we used to have a lot of arguments about physical custody. Now that child support is established on parenting time with no regard to the custody label, I find that we’re litigating that a lot less. So, if we’re making the analysis of whether or not it is a joint physical custody case or a sole physical custody case, we look at whether the label is going to carry a lot of weight. We’re always looking at what’s in the best interest of the children, and that’s the analysis that we need to perform, but I find that many more people are willing to stipulate and settle on the label as long as they can get to a schedule that makes sense in their case.