The Minnesota family courts have to make decisions every day regarding the relationships between adults and minor children, and they try to do what is right for the children first. These custody determinations often occur during a divorce, but they can also happen when an unmarried couple breaks up and needs to divide parenting time.

As a parent, you no doubt want to protect your relationship with the children, and seeking shared custody is usually the best way to do so for many parents. The better you understand how Minnesota views and allocates custody, the better equipped you will be to advocate for yourself and your kids in the family courts.

Know both kinds of custody, and push for a share in both

Typically speaking, Minnesota breaks custody of minor children into two categories. Parents maintain both legal and physical custody over their children. It is common for courts to order joint custody, meaning both parents share the legal and physical custody of their kids.

Physical custody, as you can probably imagine, involves where the children stay and providing for their basic needs such as food and shelter. Your share of physical custody will usually involve parenting time. Legal custody is also important, as it involves decision-making authority for your children. The religion they practice, the education they receive and the medical care accessible to them all reflect decisions made with legal custodial authority.

Having a share of both physical and legal custody means that you can spend time with your children and have your opinions heard on matters regarding how they live their lives.