What Is Child Custody?

How child custody is determined in Minnesota can be hard to navigate. Legal Custody gives you the right to make decisions about your child’s education, healthcare, and religious upbringing.

Physical Custody- this is when your child lives with you. You make decisions about your child’s day-to-day activities, what they eat, wear, and do.

You may have sole custody, physically or legally—or both. Or you may have joint custody, physically or legally—or both. If you have joint physical custody, the courts will usually set up a parenting time arrangement with the child’s best interests in mind.

Minnesota Residency

To have a Minnesota court decide your child custody case, the child must be a Minnesota resident for at least six months. There are exceptions for emergencies. These require an ex parte order. It is also important to note that your case will be an interstate one that can get complicated if you and your child live in different states. You should consult with an attorney about your situation’s specifics to create the best plan of action.

Parenting Classes

Anytime parents are disputing child custody in Minnesota, they are required by law to attend parenting classes. There are times when the judge will also require the children to attend classes.

Coming to an Agreement

Often as a case is moving forward, parents will resolve their own issues and agree about parenting time. When that happens, you need to file a Stipulation and Order with the court. You must both sign this agreement in front of a notary. One parent files it with the court, and once the judge signs it, it is legally binding.

Your Child’s Best Interests

All parties need to keep your child’s best interests in mind. It can be easy to get sidetracked from that when going through a divorce. As you are navigating the legal system, it is essential to have experienced legal counsel. White & Associates is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about how we can assist you in your custody dispute.


From our offices in Elk River Minnesota, we serve clients throughout our neighboring cities, including Saint Cloud, Albertville, St. Michael, Buffalo, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Monticello, Big Lake, Ramsey, Rogers, Princeton, Zimmerman, and Becker, MN. We also have experience representing clients throughout much of Minnesota. So whether you call Elk River—or even the Twin Cities Metro—home or not, know that we can help.


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