Child Custody and Visitation
Child Custody & Parenting Time In Southern Minnesota
Many divorce lawyers present themselves with the “bulldog” image, claiming they will fight to the death over every issue. We avoid this approach, not because we are afraid to fight, but because this approach doesn’t always work. It’s expensive and sometimes the only one who wins is the lawyer. A better approach is to try and get a plan that will let you move on with your life and you need a legal team that will help solve problems, not create them. At Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office, we solve child custody and parenting time problems.
A Unique Approach to Family Law
Our Mankato and Rochester child custody lawyers focus on finding solutions. Sometimes this involves mediation and other times we go have to go to court. There is no one right solution to handle custody cases, but you need a plan and a way to get the case resolved.
Equal Rights | Parenting Plans
Many of our clients are surprised to learn that there is no automatic presumption in favor of one parent or the other regarding child custody. Most people assume that, barring exceptional circumstances, the mother will automatically get custody of the children. This is not the case anymore. The court is focusing more on “parenting plans,” in which the mother and father have a fairly equal chance for physical custody (where the child is housed) and shared legal custody (making important decisions regarding the child).
Whether you are a mother or father facing a child custody dispute, we will help you achieve the best possible parenting time solution for you and your children.
Another important issue in child custody proceedings involves the rights of grandparents and other third parties. In many cases, grandparents end up being very important to the kids and important to their grandchildren’s upbringing, especially during the tumultuous times as the parents are beginning divorce proceedings. They often feel that they deserve at least visitation privileges, if not physical custody.
We represent grandparents and parents in custody/visitation disputes involving grandparents.
Do Stepparents Have a Right Visitation in Minnesota?
Stepparents play an important role in the lives of many children. According to a recent report from the Step Family Foundation, nearly half of American children live in a family that is remarried or recoupled. Of course, not all stepfamilies stay together. A child’s custodial parent and stepparent could get divorced or otherwise separate from each other.
This raises an important question: Can stepparents seek child visitation rights in Minnesota? The answer is ‘yes’—but it is important to emphasize that there is a relatively high bar to get visitation rights as a stepparent. In this article, our Mankato family law attorney explains the most important things to know about stepparent rights in Minnesota.
Minnesota Law: An Overview of Stepparent Visitation Rights
In many states, stepparents who have not legally adopted a child have no right to seek child visitation. However, that is not the case in Minnesota. Under MN Statutes § 257C.08, there are circumstances in which a stepparent can file for and obtain court-protected visitation rights—even if the stepparent is no longer the romantic partner of the child’s biological parent. To obtain visitation rights, a stepparent must establish the following four things:
- They lived in the same residence as the child for at least two years, but they now reside in separate households;
- There is evidence of genuine emotional ties exist between the stepparent and the child;
- Stepparent visitation rights would not unreasonably interfere with the child’s relationship with their custodial parent; and
- Awarding visitation rights would be in the best interests of the child.
Notably, the Minnesota statutes also clearly state that the courts should consider the reasonable preference of the child in these cases—at least assuming the child is old enough and mature enough to give input on the matter. If an older child (12+) is not interested in spending time with their stepparent, it is very unlikely court-ordered visitation will be awarded.
Collaborative Solutions Often Work Best in Visitation Case
When a child’s biological parent divorces/separates from their stepparent, there may be options for resolving any visitation-related issues collaboratively outside of court. Indeed, child custody and child visitation cases are often suited for collaborative problem-solving—particularly if the parties still have a good relationship.
Of course, you should also be ready to protect your rights as a parent or stepparent. An experienced Southern Minnesota child visitation attorney can help you determine the best course of action for your specific situation. Every child custody or child visitation dispute should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
Call Our Southern Minnesota Family Lawyer for Legal Advice
At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Minnesota family attorneys are skilled, experienced, and solutions-driven advocates for parents. We will protect your rights. If you have questions about stepparent rights, we are ready to help. Call us today or send us a message directly online to set up a fully confidential initial appointment with a lawyer. From our offices in Rochester and Mankato, we provide family law representation throughout Southern Minnesota.
Minnesota Parenting Time Attorneys | Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office
“This law firm is very experienced, very effective, and yet very personable when interacting with me throughout my nerve-wracking legal process. I’m completely satisfied with the outcome of my case. I would hire the Kohlmeyer Hagen Law Office again without hesitation. And, I have since recommended them to several friends and acquaintances.”
– TOM W., CLIENT
Don’t wait to contact us | 507.625.5000
Contact us as soon as possible. The sooner you call us and get us on the case, the more time we wil have to prepare your defense. Even if you are not sure you want to hire us, call us and talk with one of our Mankato child custody and visitation attorneys. We offer a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. Talk to us and see what we can do for you.