Child Custody Lawyers in Minnesota Build a Strong Case for Your Child’s Best Interests

Willmar, Minnesota’s largest legal firm offers knowledgeable experience in multiple practice areas

Anderson Larson provides a client-focused approach and innovative case strategies. Our seasoned Willmar attorneys understand the practical application of the best interests test applied by Minnesota courts. We work diligently to build a solid case to support your child custody or visitation case while giving you options to keep your costs down.

How do I get child custody in Minnesota?

In the event of custody disagreements between parents, a court ultimately decides how child custody is to be arranged. This decision is based on the best interests of the children, considering a number of factors:

  • Ages of the children — During children’s younger years, judges tend to favor the parent who has been the primary caregiver to promote stability.
  • Each parent’s living situation — Judges consider whether each parent can provide a stable living environment for the children.
  • Each parent’s willingness to support the other’s relationship with the child — An important factor is which parent is most likely to encourage a healthy relationship with the noncustodial parent.
  • Child’s preferences — Depending on the age and maturity of the children, a judge may talk to them about their preferences and decide how much weight to give their opinions.
  • Continuity and stability — Judges and the law prefer maintaining the status quo in custody matters. If you can argue that your existing custody arrangement is working fine, you may get preference over a parent wanting to make major changes.
  • Abuse or neglect — A parent with a history of abusing or neglecting the children is likely to get limited contact, if any.

What types of custody are available?

Custody can become an issue for divorcing parents, but also for parents who never married. Custody determinations are the same, regardless of the parents’ marital status, and consists of physical custody and legal custody components.

Physical custody refers to which parent the children live with the majority of the time, while legal custody refers to who has authority to make material decisions for the children in various aspects of their lives, such as education, religious training and medical care. Physical and legal custody can be granted to one or both parents.

Joint physical custody is when both parents share physical custody of their children. Though often difficult to implement, joint physical custody can promote healthy parent-child relationships with both parents.

Sole custody is when legal and physical custody are granted to only one parent. The noncustodial parent may or may not be granted visitation time with the children.

What are my parental rights?

Minnesota does not have a specific statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights. Nonetheless, parents are on the same footing in custody and visitation disputes unless one parent can show evidence of why the other parent should not be granted custody or visitation. Judges are bound to consider a number of factors when determining custody arrangements for each case.

Just as parents have rights, children have the right to be supported by their parents. Minnesota law does not allow a parent to sign over or relinquish parental rights unless another suitable person is waiting to adopt the children. Parents can’t sign over their rights to get out of paying child support.

How are visitation rights and timesharing determined?

Courts establish visitation guidelines according to the best interests of the children. Each case is different, but judges generally grant the noncustodial parent visitation time unless the parent is a danger to the children, such as in cases of abuse or neglect. Even in these kinds of cases, judges may give the noncustodial parent supervised visitation.

What can I do if my ex does not allow me to visit my children?

Your ex is legally bound to follow the existing court order, regardless of other factors, such as unpaid child support. If you are not getting your allotted parenting time with your children, you can ask the court to help you fix your visitation dilemma. If you can prove your ex is wrongfully withholding your parenting time with your children, the court can impose a fine, allow you to make up the time you did not receive, and set other conditions. The experienced family law attorneys at Anderson Larson help parents assert their rights to see their children.

Call Anderson Larson for quality legal representation at an affordable price

Anderson Larson is an established firm with experienced lawyers ready to go to bat for you. Located in Willmar, Minnesota, we are across the street from Rice Memorial Hospital, Call 320-235-4313 today for an appointment or contact us online. Anderson Larson is dedicated to helping you overcome legal obstacles.