Minnesota Temporary Custody and Child Custody
The Importance of Temporary Custody
In cases where the issue of custody is contested, there is typically an initial hearing where the Court decides issues of custody, visitation, child support, spousal maintenance, occupancy of the homestead, etc. on a temporary basis, pending issuance of the final Judgment & Decree or Divorce--which can be several months or even a year or more in contested custody cases.
The general rule is that no testimony is taken at the temporary relief hearing. Rather, the Court decides the issues of temporary custody, etc., on the basis of parties’ respective motions and affidavits, and on the arguments of counsel made at the hearing. It is extremely important to take the time at this stage to get affidavits and documentation from as many people as possible who have relevant knowledge.
Legally, the fact that one party or the other is granted temporary custody has no bearing on which party should ultimately be awarded permanent custody in the final Judgment and Decree of Divorce. However, it is important to understand that the temporary custody order represents the Court's best initial guess as to which parent is the more suitable custodian, and it sets the tone throughout the proceedings.
NOTE WELL: If you intend to seek custody, it is critically important that at the time of separation you do not leave the children in the care of the other party in the marital home. If you do so, it is very likely that the parent who is left in the marital home will be awarded temporary custody of the children simply to maintain continuity.
Eric C. Nelson, Esq.
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