Advocating for Child Custody & Parenting Time Arrangements

Custody is perhaps the most widely misunderstood concept in family law, and it is often mistakenly associated with parenting time. Custody and parenting time, however, are very different from one another. It is important to have a good understanding of the differences between custody and parenting time so that you can focus your attention on what is important to you, and what is really in the best interests of your children. At Loftness Law Office, P.A., I’m here to support Minnesota parents in this endeavor.

What Parents Need to Know About Child Custody

There are two types of child custody in Minnesota – physical custody and legal custody – each of which must be addressed in every Minnesota case.  Physical custody pertains to the routine daily care, control, and residence of the child. Legal custody pertains to a parent’s right to determine the child’s upbringing, including their education, health care, and religious training. Note that there is no reference to the amount of time a parent spends with children in the definition of either physical custody or legal custody. Each of these custody labels must be designated as either sole to one parent or shared jointly by both parents.

What Is Parenting Time if it’s Different from Custody?

Parenting time (sometimes referred to as “visitation”) is essentially the time allocated for each parent to spend with his or her children. It is determined based on what is in the best interests of the child, and not based on what either parent thinks is “fair.” Many factors are considered in determining how to allocate parenting time, such as the distance between the parents’ residences and the parents’ work schedules.

How are Child Custody and Parenting Time Determined?

Custody and parenting time can be negotiated and agreed upon by the parties in a divorce proceeding. If an agreement cannot be reached, then it will be decided by a judge. The judge will carefully analyze all of the independent factors set forth in the statute used to determine what is in a child’s best interests. No single factor outweighs all of the other factors. If litigation is necessary, you and I will discuss these factors and examine how a judge may rule in your case. I will, of course, remain available to answer any questions you might have throughout the proceedings.

Modifications to Child Custody and Parenting Time Arrangements

In many cases, the custody arrangement or parenting time schedule may need to change for one reason or another as the children grow older. Parents may change jobs, change residences, remarry, or go through any number of other experiences that could have a direct impact on custody or parenting time. It’s important to understand that there are different legal standards that apply to modifying custody as opposed to initially determining custody, and there are different legal standards that apply to modifying custody as opposed to modifying parenting time. I can help you to request or contest modifications to your existing court ordered custody or parenting time, but only if you call me to discuss your situation.

Talk to a Custody and Parenting Time Lawyer Today

I am here to answer your questions and to help you work toward positive results as quickly and cost-efficiently as possible. Please schedule your consultation by filling out an appointment request form online or by calling 952-641-7485.