Single parents in Minnesota have a lot to think about. They must make sure that their children are cared for and have everything they need. When single parents learn that they will be thrust into a child custody battle for any reason, they usually want reassurance that their children aren't going to be ripped away from them. Knowing some of the factors that the courts will consider in their custody cases might help single parents better understand the legal process.
Where is the child's residence?
In order for child custody proceedings to commence in Minnesota, the child must have lived in this state for at least 180 consecutive days. Kids can live here with a parent, guardian or someone who is acting as their parent. The courts do make certain exceptions in emergency circumstances, so be sure to find out if that is something that would apply in your case if your child hasn't met the residency requirements for the state.
Who is the primary caregiver?
One of the main factors that courts consider when determining child custody is which parent is the child's primary caregiver. Establishing this means learning who ensures the child bathes, has meals to eat and attends school. A primary caregiver would also be the one who is predominately responsible for purchasing clothes, doing laundry, teaching the children, making sure they are socialized and get proper medical care. Other duties that are associated with caregiving also matter, so you might want to point out any other parenting tasks you perform that would fall into this category.
What other factors will the court consider?
The court can consider anything that is within your children's best interest. The mental and physical health of the parents could be considered, along with a stable home environment. While factors like the ability to provide for the child and living arrangements are factors, the court doesn't consider the wealth or income of the parents in most child custody cases.
Evidence associated with drug usage, alcoholism and any abusive tendencies would be important to the courts in these cases. If the children are old enough to express a preference about which parent to live with, the court may consider the wishes of the child. Having a support system that ensures the child is well adjusted might also be a factor.