I’ve given some time in the past to what exactly are Minn. Stat 518.17 Best Interest factors and I’ve discussed the 13 different factors, but in order to avoid writing a book, I really gave only a quick look at each factor due to space consideration.  Now, I’m going to spend a little time on each of the 13 Best Interest factors. Remember of the 13 factors, there is not one “magic factor” that is dispositive of custody.  In fact, the statute specifically states that one may not be used and all the rest ignored.  So to paraphrase Orwell “All factors […]

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Are courts biased against fathers in custody decisions? Following a divorce in Minnesota, courts are required to make many decisions about who gets custody of the kids based on the best interests of the kids.  Fathers often feel that, more often than not, this results in the mother having sole custody of a child, or fathers receiving inadequate parenting time with the kids.  Is this just a perception or does this actually happen?There are basically two competing considerations here:  first, that Minnesota law doesn’t provide for any special consideration to mothers in custody determinations.  In other words, there is no law that […]

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If you are involved in a Minnesota custody dispute, your lawyer or a judge might have brought up the topic of a guardian ad litem with you. A guardian ad litem is someone who is appointed, for the duration of your legal battle, to look out for the best interests of your child. The idea is that while you can make your wishes known, and your ex can make his or her wishes known, your child has no one to advocate for him or her. The guardian ad litem will be an independent, neutral person—so not your ex-mother-in-law, fortunately, but […]

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Wow, pretty dour topic.  As you, my dear readers, probably know this is a bit more intense than my normal headlines.  But, I wanted to discuss a common misconception that is going around Minnesota courthouse these days, and that is that if you have addiction issues; alcohol or drugs come to mind, then you can not get custody of your kids.   That’s not true. What is true is that if you have an addiction and you are not getting help for it, then you’ve got a problem when it comes to custody in Minnesota.  You see, Judges like to […]

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What is the Best Interest Standard? Best Interest Standard | If you’re going through child custody proceedings in Minnesota, you might have heard the term “best interests of the child” being thrown about by your lawyer, the judge, or your ex-partner’s lawyer.  It sounds straightforward enough, but what exactly does it mean?  And what issues is the standard relevant to? Definition The “best interests of the child” standard is included in Minnesota statute.  It requires the court to consider a variety of relevant factors.  These can include, but are not limited to: the wishes of the parents; the wishes of […]

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