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Primary caregivers may be more likely to receive custody

Minnesota parents who get divorced may not be able to reach amicable agreements about who retains custody over their children. In such cases, courts often prefer to award custody to whichever parent demonstrates that they were the primary caretaker. Courts can make such determinations based on who played the greatest role in the child's health care, educational and extracurricular activities and other quality-of-life factors.

Courts may also defer to basing their decision on what kind of living situation would be in a given child's best interests. Factors like how old a child is, the health of their parents, whether or not they'd have to change schools and even their own stated preferences are all taken into consideration. For instance, parents who abuse alcohol or mistreat their kids may be less likely to gain custody.

Primary caretaker standards also account for the emotional bonds between family members and the developmental states children have reached. In addition to examining important factors like who provided basic essentials, such as grooming assistance, clean clothing and prepared meals, courts may refer more difficult cases to psychologists or other impartial experts. Although the primary caretaker standard can be given precedence over other considerations, different family law courts vary in their determination of which specific factors carry the most weight.

Custody battles often make life difficult for the children in question. These disagreements can lengthen ongoing divorces or introduce serious instability into a child's routine. Although parents always have the option of leaving final parenting time determinations up to the court, doing so may not result in arrangements that work best for the family as a whole. Parents who find it hard to come to terms with each other may discover that talking with an attorney early on gives them more control over the process.

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

Christa Jacqueline Groshek
© 2012 Aspatore Books from
Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
Reproduced by permission