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Rochester Child Custody Lawyer

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Get Help From a Skilled, Compassionate, and Solutions-Driven Rochester Child Custody Lawyer Today

At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Rochester child custody attorneys are compassionate and future-focused advocates for parents and families. We are focused on helping our clients find the best possible solution in their custody and visitation cases. If you have any questions about your rights, we can help. To set up a fully confidential, no commitment consultation with a top Minnesota custody lawyer, please do not hesitate to contact us at our Rochester law office today.

Understanding Child Custody in Minnesota (Physical and Legal)

Child custody in Minnesota is divided into two types: physical and legal custody. Physical custody refers to where the child physically resides, while legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s welfare, such as their education and healthcare. Both physical and legal custody can be awarded to one parent (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody). How exactly custody is split in Rochester depends on the specific situation. 

Areas of Minnesota is a Best Interests of the Child Jurisdiction

Perhaps the single most important thing to know about child custody disputes in Rochester is that they are handled under Minnesota’s best interests of the child standard (MN Statutes Sec. 518.17). If a custody or visitation dispute goes before a court in Minnesota, the judge is required to resolve the matter by determining what is best for the child’s health, well-being, social growth, and overall best interests. There are many different “best interest factors” listed within the statute, including:

Perhaps the single most important thing to know about child custody disputes in Rochester is that they are handled under Minnesota’s best interests of the child standard (MN Statutes Sec. 518.17). If a custody or visitation dispute goes before a court in Minnesota, the judge is required to resolve the matter by determining what is best for the child’s health, well-being, social growth, and overall best interests. There are many different “best interest factors” listed within the statute, including: 

  • The child’s overall physical and/or emotional needs;
  • Any unique medical, mental health, or schooling requirements of the child;
  • The preference of the child—but only to the extent that it is age-appropriate; 
  • Any history of child abuse or child neglect by either party; 
  • The extent to which each parent developed an existing relationship with the child; 
  • The overall parental fitness of each party to the case; 
  • The effect that any custody arrangement will have on the development of the child;
  • Any impact that a custody arrangement will have on the child’s relationships; 
  • The approach that will maximize total parenting time with each party; 
  • The willingness of the parents to make a visitation arrangement work; and
  • The willingness of the parents to cooperate in good faith.

Shared Custody is Presumed—But Sole Custody is Possible

In Minnesota, shared custody is presumed to be in the best interest of the child unless it’s proven otherwise. This means that the court will start with the assumption that both parents should have significant involvement in the child’s life, even if they don’t have equal physical time with the child. However, there are circumstances where sole custody may be granted, such as if one parent is unfit or poses a risk to the child’s safety.

A Parenting Plan is a Key Tool in a Custody Case

In Minnesota, a parenting plan is a legal document that outlines the rights and responsibilities of parents who are divorcing or separating, regarding the care and custody of their children. The purpose of a parenting plan is to establish a framework for co-parenting that ensures the best interests of the children are taken into consideration. Among other things, a well-structured parenting plan will typically include: 

  • A parenting time schedule; 
  • Decision-making authority; 
  • Communication between parents; and
  • Dispute resolution.

We Emphasize Collaborative, Solutions-Focused Representation in Custody Cases

Our Rochester, MN law firm emphasizes a collaborative, solutions-focused approach in custody cases. We work closely with clients to find mutually beneficial solutions that prioritize the well-being of the child. Of course, we know that every case is different. Our litigation-tested Rochester custody attorneys are ready to fight aggressively to protect your rights when needed.

Four Mistakes Parents Should Avoid in Child Custody Cases in Rochester, MN

Child custody cases can be emotionally charged, complex legal cases—especially so if there is any type of dispute between the parents. Unfortunately, too many parents make mistakes that undermine their own rights and interests. Here are four mistakes that parents in Rochester should avoid in child custody cases:

  • Putting Your Child in the Middle of the Conflict: Spare your child from conflict between you and your former partner/co-parent. Parents should avoid speaking negatively about the other parent in front of their child, asking them to take sides, or using them as messengers. Doing so is important for the well-being of your child and for legal rights. 
  • Refusing to Cooperate in a Good Faith Manner: Approach custody cases with a willingness to cooperate and negotiate in good faith. Not only could refusing to communicate or work with the other parent may only escalate the conflict and make it harder to reach a resolution, it is a “best interests of the child” factor in the state. A parent’s failure to cooperate could be used against them in custody proceedings. 
  • Not Focusing on Providing a Safe, Secure, Stable Environment: The main consideration in a child custody case is the best interests of the child. Parents should focus on creating a safe, secure, and stable environment for their child, demonstrating their ability to provide for the child’s physical, emotional, and educational needs. Not doing so is a mistake. 
  • Waiting Too Long to Get Professional Legal Help: Too many parents wait too long to seek professional guidance and support from a qualified attorney. The sooner you consult with a Rochester, MN child custody lawyer, the better position that you will be in to assert your rights, protect your child, and obtain the most favorable outcome. 

Non-Parental Custody & Visitation Rights: Explained

Custody rights are for the child’s legal parent, biological or otherwise. A non-parent—a grandparent, stepparent, aunt/uncle, etc—has very limited legal rights in Minnesota. They cannot obtain official custody rights without becoming the legal parent of the child. However, in some situations, an interested parent, such as a grandparent, may be granted legally protected visitation rights. Still, it is important to emphasize that these rights are limited and can only be accessed in narrow circumstances. An experienced Rochester, MN custody and visitation lawyer can help.

Why Choose Our Rochester Child Custody Lawyer

For parents, going through a custody case is never easy. Whether you are getting divorced, splitting up, or trying to modify an existing custody arrangement, it is normal to feel stressed out, confused, or frustrated by the process. At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., we are devoted to personalized and proactive representation. Among other things, our Rochester custody lawyers will: 

  • Hear your story and answer your questions about child custody or child visitation; 
  • Investigate—gathering and organizing all of the evidence needed to support your case; 
  • Represent you in any child custody settlement negotiations with your co-parent; and
  • Put together a fully personalized strategy to protect your parental rights and work towards the best solution for your family.

Contact Our Rochester Child Custody Attorney Today

At Kohlmeyer Hagen, Law Office Chtd., our Rochester child custody lawyers provide compassionate and solutions-oriented legal guidance and support to our clients. If you have any questions or concerns about custody in Minnesota, we are here to help. Call us now at 507-625-5000 or connect with us online to set up a fully private, no obligation case review. From our Rochester legal office, our firm provides family law services in Olmsted County and throughout Southern Minnesota. Please call 507-625-5000.

Frequently Asked Questions

About Child Custody in Rochester, MN

Does the Mother Have Priority for Child Custody in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, the court does not automatically give priority to either the mother or the father in child custody cases. The law is gender neutral. The court considers various factors to determine the best interest of the child, such as the child’s relationship with each parent. The court may award joint or sole custody, but the decision is based on the child’s well-being, not gender. That is not to say that stereotypes can never play a role in the process.

Is Mediation a Good Option for a Child Custody Case?

Mediation can be a good option for a child custody case as it allows both parties to reach a mutually agreed upon solution in a less adversarial manner. A neutral mediator facilitates communication between the parties and helps them come to a decision that is in the best interest of the child. Mediation can also be faster, cheaper, and less stressful than going to court. Our Rochester, MN family mediation lawyers can help you navigate a complex child custody matter.

Can I Modify a Child Custody Order/Agreement in Minnesota?

Yes—it is possible to modify a child custody order/agreement in Minnesota. The process involves filing a motion with the court to request a change in the existing custody arrangement. To be eligible, there must have been a substantial change in circumstances since the original order was issued. Modifications are far easier when both parents are on board with the change. Though, they are also possible even if one parent refuses to consent/cooperate. As with other custody matters, the court will consider the best interests of the child when making a decision on the modification.

What do I need to prove to get sole custody in Minnesota?

As noted previously, joint parenting is presumed to be best for a child in Minnesota. Sole custody is only granted in a limited number of cases, when it is determined to be in a child’s best interest. To obtain sole custody, you will need to provide evidence that demonstrates your ability to provide a safe and stable environment for your child, as well as evidence of any concerns or issues with the other parent’s ability to care for the child. If you are trying to obtain sole custody over the objections of your co-parent, it is imperative that you retain a Rochester family lawyer.

How does paternity impact a child custody case?

Paternity is legal fatherhood. In Minnesota, paternity can impact a child custody and/or child visitation case in a number of different ways. If paternity has not been established, a father will need to go through the process to be considered for custody or visitation rights. Without paternity, a man lacks parental rights. Once paternity is established, the father may have equal rights to custody and visitation as the mother. The court will still consider the best interests of the child when making decisions about custody. Proving paternity is not sufficient to get joint custody rights.

Does a parent love custody/visitation rights if they are behind on child support?

No—at least not automatically. Parental rights are strongly protected in Minnesota. A modest amount of back due child support will not lead to a loss of custody or visitation rights. However, if a court determines that a parent is substantially behind on child support without good cause, that could lead to involuntary termination or limitations on parental rights on the grounds of financial neglect. For more information, contact a Rochester, MN child custody attorney.

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 child custody attorneys. We offer a complimentary, no-obligation consultation. Talk to us and see what we can do for you.