Factors in Deciding Custody

Edina, MN Family Law Attorney, Jane Van Valkenburg talks about the various factors courts will consider when deciding custody and visitation.

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For custody, the factors have significantly changed, but they look at – mostly they look at what’s been the past involvement of each parent, so it’s not primary custody but how involved have the parents been in the child’s life. Now they’re looking at what does each parent bring to the child’s life, and they’re trying to look towards the future. So what does dad have? What are his strengths? What are his weaknesses? Same thing with mom. What are her strengths, what are her weaknesses, and how do they benefit the child? How’s the child gonna thrive on those strengths?

They will also look at what does each parent bring in supporting the other parent’s relationship with the other parent. And the way they look at it is what is each parent’s wish for the custody arrangement. But they’re looking to be forward thinking in trying to figure out what’s best for the child. Oftentimes, if you’re dealing with mental health or chemical dependency issues, how are you gonna not make that a negative, but how do you make that a positive and still support the child’s relationship with the parent going forward?

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