You have been told the Court is going to consider your child’s best interests in making determinations on the custody and parenting time for your child. But what does this mean exactly.
What is best for your child, you are their parent after all. Minnesota law does actually set forth many factors that they consider to help determine the best interests of your child for the purposes of custody and parenting time. No one factor is more important than another, and the Court can consider any combination of the factors in making a determination on custody and parenting time.
The first three factors evaluated by a judge are:
- a child’s physical, emotional, cultural, spiritual, and other needs, and the effect of the proposed arrangements on the child’s needs and development
This factor emphasizes the focus to be used in evaluating the proposed custody and parenting time arrangement, i.e. the overall needs of the child vs. the parents. It includes food, shelter, clothing, and medical care, as well as education, loving support, and general parental guidance. This factor specifically examines what custody and parenting arrangement best fits the children’s needs on an ongoing basis.
This factor also includes consideration of child’s changing developmental needs. This factor could take into account any number of issues and focus on a wide array of elements. Use this factor to show the Court how you specifically support, help, and accommodate your child’s development and growth.
- any special medical, mental health, or educational needs that the child may have that may require special parenting arrangements or access to recommended services
This factor informs the court of the unique needs that may be present for the child and includes those factors in the consideration of parenting arrangements. The Court will look to how each parent attend to these needs.
Does your child have an individual educational plan at school? Become familiar with it. Does your child have physical disabilities? Become familiar with their diagnoses and treatment. Does your child have ongoing medication? Make sure you are familiar with the requirements for taking it.
(3) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient ability, age, and maturity to express an independent, reliable preference
This factor will look to the child’s age as well as their ability and maturity to give an opinion not influenced by another. The Court is reluctant to use this factor unless it is clear the child can make a mature decision that will not be driven by immature factors such as if one parent is tougher on the child than another.
We will cover the other factors over the next several weeks. But if you have concern over your custody and parenting time proceedings, contact an attorney today that can help you prepare to best present your position on your child’s best interests.
Minnesota Child Custody Lawyers
Contact the law firm of Flanders Law Firm LLC to discuss a possible child custody modification motion. Contact the firm for a free initial consultation at 612-424-0398.