Minnesota Physical Custody or Child Custody

Standard for Determining Physical Custody

provided by Eric C. Nelson, Esq.

As in many areas of family law, the standard applied by the Court in making an initial award of physical custody is the so-called "best interest of the child's" standard. This standard requires findings by the Court with respect to all relevant factors, including the following factors enumerated by statute:

1. the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody;

2. the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;

3. the child's primary caretaker (i.e., who provided the day-to-day physical, emotional, and intellectual care for the child, including such parental functions as the following: preparing and planning of meals; bathing, grooming and dressing; purchasing, cleaning, and care of clothes; medical care, including nursing and trips to physicians; arranging for social interaction among peers after school, e.e., transporting to friends’ houses or , for example to Girl Scout or Boy Scout meetings; arranging alternative care, i.e., babysitting, daycare, etc.; putting child to bed at night, attending to child in the middle of the night, waking child in the morning; disciplining, i.e., teaching general manners and toilet training; educating, i.e., religious, cultural, social, etc.; and teaching elementary skills, i.e., reading, writing, and arithmetic);

4. the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;

5. the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests;

6. the child's adjustment to home, school, and community;

7. the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;

8. the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;

9. the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability, as defined in section 363.01, of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;

10. the capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child's culture and religion or creed, if any;

11. the child's cultural background;

12. the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, as defined in section 518B.01, that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent; and

13. except in cases in which a finding of domestic abuse as defined in section 518B.01 has been made, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.

Eric C. Nelson, Esq.
Old Republic Title Building
400 Second Ave. S.
Suite 700
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
(612) 321-9402