It’s a common misconception that In Minnesota Divorce Courts a woman has a big advantage over a man. After doing family law for over 11 years in Minnesota and going from Worthington to Albert Lea on a daily basis I think I have a good perspective to answer this question. I can firmly say the answer is….no, women aren’t favored in Minnesota family law courts.
Ok, but then why do mother’s get custody more often than fathers in Minnesota? Because it’s known that statistically the mother receives custody more often than fathers in Minnesota. Well, I hate to say it, but from what I see, the mothers actually do the bulk of the parenting. Now not all the time of course, there are fantastic dads and miserable moms, but often the mother is the primary caregiver. I believe the problem comes from fathers who think that even though they don’t do one-half of the parenting they believe they should get a 50-50 custody arrangement.
When I talk to many fathers who want either joint custody or even sole physical custody they often don’t know what goes into being the primary caregiver. While I don’t have statistics to back this up, I can say that usually the mother takes the kids to Doctor, Dentist, school activities, goes shopping, drives the kids to their friends, etc., etc. Instead I hear complaints about it being a “stacked system” that the dads can’t win, blah, blah, blah. Well I’ve gotten plenty of father’s custody over the past decade, but these were fathers who deserved it, who worked hard to be a good dad, didn’t come and just watch tv or go to the bar.
I think the problem is more one of perspective and having a good family law attorney tell their client the likely outcome of the case What I have seen frequently are attorneys who style themselves “Father’s Rights” attorneys. I have no idea what this means. This is a great marketing gimmick but it really doesn’t mean anything because fathers have the identical rights that mothers have. there is no special section in the Minnesota divorce code that give gender specific rights. Instead of giving good legal advice, they complain about the system, charge their client too much to put a fight when the only one who knows they are going to lose is the client paying the bill.
If you are a man and reading this, you might be happy to hear you have an equal playing field in Minnesota courts, but that doesn’t mean you get any special rights, instead you’ll be viewed the same as your wife in court. Women reading this, don’t be disappointed, instead you need to listen when your lawyer tells you it’s not a slam dunk you’ll get custody and lifelong alimony check.
Feel free to post any comments or email me, Jason Kohlmeyer at Jkohlmeyer@rokolaw.com
Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Office