How Many Times Can You Appeal a Child Custody Case in Brainerd, MN?

Child custody is one of the most critical elements of a divorce case involving minor children. When one of the spouses disagrees with the child custody award, they will appeal the court’s decision in the hopes of getting a better outcome. How many times can you appeal a child custody case? The short answer is that you can appeal a child custody decision as many times as there are courts superior to the one that made the ruling.

Types of Child Custody

Minnesota child custody agreements define which parent(s) get physical and legal custody of a child. Physical custody specifies where the child lives, with whom, and when. Legal custody determines which parent(s) will make significant legal decisions for the child.

In Minnesota, there are four primary types of child custody. They are:

  1. Sole Physical Custody: In this custody, the court will place the children under the supervision of one parent, while the other parent will get limited or generous visitation depending on the circumstances of your case.
  2. Joint Physical Custody: In this type of custody, the children will stay with both parents for a significant amount of time. However, this type of custody is rare.
  3. Sole Legal Custody: Legal custody gives a parent the right to have a say in major decisions like health, education, religion, and general upbringing of the children. Sole legal custody means only one parent gets this right.
  4. Joint Legal Custody: In joint legal custody, both parents get to decide regarding the health, education, religion, and overall welfare of the children. However, both parents need to make things work. Only then the court is likely to award joint legal custody.

Contrary to common belief, joint legal custody isn’t always a 50/50 split. For example, a common joint physical custody arrangement is when the child lives with one parent during weekends and another parent on weekdays. Or one parent may receive primary physical custody, allowing him or her to decide when the other parent can visit the child.

When one parent gets primary physical custody, the other parent can still see the child. But if both parents can’t agree on a visitation schedule, the court will specify one. Courts typically grant 25% custody to the non-custodial parent unless there’s a reason that this arrangement isn’t in the child’s best interest.

Another common misconception about child custody battles is that courts place preference on the mother. However, this isn’t actually true. Minnesota courts prefer to grant joint custody whenever possible, believing that it’s in the child’s best interest to be around both parents.

The only way a child custody attorney could win you sole legal and/or physical custody is if you can prove that the other parent is unfit.

What Is an Unfit Parent in Brainerd?

Brainerd parents can lose custody of their children voluntarily or involuntarily. With voluntary custody loss, the parent gives written consent to terminate their parental rights. When a court deems a parent unfit, he or she may lose custody involuntarily.

Unfit parents in Minnesota are those who showcase abandonment, neglect, or failure to pay child support. Other factors making a parent unfit include being physically and/or emotionally abusive or failing to care for the child’s physical, emotional, or mental health.

Murder or Assault Convictions Impact in Child Custody

Parents convicted of murdering or assaulting one of his or her children, sexually abusing any child, or committing any other offense requiring sex offender registration are also unfit.

Court Ordered Adjustments

A Minnesota parent could lose custody if the child is temporarily placed in foster care for some reason, and the parent fails to make court-ordered adjustments. Conditions that could lead to a child’s placement in foster care include the parent’s chemical dependency and addiction or if the child was significantly harmed while in his or her care.

So, for instance, a parent could be deemed unfit if the child was removed from the home due to drugs being present. The court may then order the parent to attend chemical dependency rehabilitation. If the parent fails to do as requested, the court may deem him or her unfit.

Absent Birth Fathers in Minnesota

Finally, absent birth fathers are typically deemed unfit in Minnesota. An absent birth father is a father who wasn’t married to the mother at the time of the child’s birth and is not listed on the child’s birth certificate. Absent birth fathers aren’t involved in their children’s lives and don’t pay child support.

Other than these reasons, a Minnesota court would not typically award sole custody of a child. Courts instead consider the child’s best interest when determining custody agreements.

Child’s Best Interest Is Key

As an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd would tell you, the court always puts the child’s best interests first. Of course, the court will take into account different factors when determining child custody. However, the child’s overall best interests form the crux of their decision.

The various factors that can affect the outcome of child custody include parents’ wishes, the relation of the child with both parents, adjustment to home, school, and community, and cultural background, among other things.

The court will also check if the parent seeking custody is capable of raising a child financially, emotionally, and mentally. Just like each divorce case is unique, so is every child custody situation. You should talk to your lawyer to know your legal options.

What Factors Decide Child Custody Agreements?

How do courts decide what’s in a child’s best interest in custody battles? A judge always takes into account what each parent wants. If one parent doesn’t want custody of the child, the court is more likely to award full custody to the other parent.

Of course, the judge will also consider what the child wants. However, in Minnesota, children must be of a certain age for a judge to ask their opinion on custody battles.

Otherwise, here are the top factors courts consider when deciding on child custody:

  • Who the child’s primary caretaker is currently
  • Where the child has lived for most of his or her life
  • How close the child is to each parent
  • Where the child’s siblings or other significant relatives live
  • Where the child goes to school
  • The health of the family relationships in each household
  • The mental and physical health of each parent
  • Each parent’s suitability for giving the child love, affection, and education
  • The child’s cultural background
  • Whether one parent is abusive or has committed domestic abuse before
  • Each parent’s willingness to cooperate with one another

In cases of joint custody, the last factor is essential. Co-parents must show how they plan to resolve any major disputes regarding the child.

What if domestic abuse has occurred between the co-parents? A Minnesota court could rule that the abuse is a detriment to your ability to cooperate and that joint custody isn’t in the child’s best interest. It’s critical to consult with a child custody attorney in Brainerd, MN to ensure you still get a fair agreement in these difficult cases.

Can You Appeal Child Custody Decision in Brainerd?

Although the short answer is “Yes,” appealing a child custody decision is not as easy as it sounds. In almost all cases, if your argument for an appeal is that the trial court didn’t get it right, the appellate court is not likely to entertain your request.

However, if your appeal is based on the argument that the trial court applied an incorrect legal standard when determining the child custody, your chances of being heard are better. Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed, and the possibility of filing a successful appeal will change from case to case. Make sure to discuss your case with an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd first.

But how many times can you appeal a court’s decision? You can only bring an appeal to a higher court and, as a general rule, you can only appeal the same court once. That means you can appeal a child custody decision as many times as there are courts superior to the one that made the ruling.

6. File for Modification Instead of Appealing

Although you can appeal the child custody order, it is often better to seek modification instead. If your current custody arrangement is no longer in the best interest of the child, you can go to the court and ask for an order modification.

However, there needs to be a change in circumstances that warrants the modification, and you should be able to prove this change in the court. For example, if the present environment threatens the mental and physical well-being of your child, the court will be more willing to change the previous custody arrangement.

If both parents agree to the modification (which does happen), the court will modify the order. Also, if the custodial parent is found guilty of criminal offenses, the custodial arrangements will be modified.

However, at least one year needs to pass from the date of issuing the original custody order before you can file for modification. If you have already filed a motion for modification before, whether or not the court granted it, you can’t file a subsequent request for at least two years. But there are exceptions to these rules as well. Talk to a competent family lawyer to discuss your options.

Parting Words

Getting a divorce is exceptionally difficult when children are involved. Sometimes, the child custody order can be unbearable for one of parents, resulting in an emotional decision to appeal the original custody order. However, you need to consider all your legal options carefully before proceeding with a crucial decision like this. Hopefully, this short post will help you understand a few important facts related to this issue.

Talk to an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Brainerd Today!

We know how heartbreaking it is to see an unexpected outcome of your child custody request. But don’t worry! Carlson & Jones, P.A., one of the most experienced child custody lawyers in Brainerd, are here to help you. Call us on (855) 663-7423   or contact us online to know how we can help resolve your child custody issues.


This article was originally published on October 24, 2020 and updated on August 19, 2021.

What Is Joint Custody in Minnesota?

Deciding who should have custody of the children can be one of the most difficult aspects of the divorce process. It’s essential that as a parent, you ask the question, What is joint custody in Minnesota? The most qualified persons to tell you are a  Minnesota family law attorney, but we’re also offering some tips and advice.

The nature of custody arrangements when a divorce is finalized can vary significantly on a case-by-case basis. A judge will consider many factors when making decisions about how a child is to be raised after their parents get a divorce.

Sometimes, a judge will determine that joint custody is ideal. This overview will cover what joint custody is in Minnesota and when it might be granted, helping you better understand how this arrangement may impact you, your spouse, and most importantly, your child.

Types of Child Custody in Minnesota

Before learning about joint custody in Minnesota, it’s necessary to be familiar with the two types of custody a court may grant. They are:

  • Physical custody, which involves the right to make key decisions about a child’s routine, daily activities, and where they live.
  • Legal custody, which applies to decisions about how to raise a child. For example, a parent granted legal custody over a child has the right to make decisions about their health and religious education or training.

There are instances when a court will grant sole physical custody, legal custody, or both to one parent. However, it’s not uncommon for courts to grant joint custody.

What Joint Custody in Minnesota Involves

Joint custody in Minnesota also comes in two forms:

  • Joint physical custody, in which both parents are involved in making decisions about a child’s routine and care.
  • Joint legal custody, which allows both parents to make decisions regarding how a child may be raised.

It’s worth noting that parents granted joint custody in any form don’t necessarily have equal custody. For example, a court may grant both parents joint physical custody of a child. This doesn’t mean the child has to spend an equal amount of time living with both parents. Although that can happen, it’s somewhat uncommon, particularly when parents don’t end up living close enough to one another to allow a child to split their time equally between their homes while still attending one school, maintaining the same general routine, etc.

Joint physical custody may be more likely to involve the court deciding that a child must spend a certain amount of time with one parent. For example, a child may spend every other weekend with one parent. This allows them to maintain a degree of routine and stability while also ensuring that a parent still has the right to see their child on a somewhat regular basis.

Factors Influencing Joint Custody Decisions in Minnesota

Courts will account for a variety of factors when determining whether to grant joint custody in Minnesota. They include the following:

The Child’s Wishes

Sometimes, a court will make custody decisions based on the wishes of the child. However, they only do so when it’s determined that a child is mature enough to express a “reasonable preference.”

For instance, a teenager might be deemed mature enough to make this type of decision, while a very young child might not be. A mature child’s preference might also apply to whether joint custody is granted if a child expresses a desire to split their time between two parents who also agree to this type of resolution.


Naturally, if abuse has occurred, even if the children haven’t been the direct targets of it, the judge will typically favor the parent who didn’t commit abuse. A court is unlikely to grant joint custody when abuse is involved.

Current Roles

Often, one parent has been more involved in the overall care and upbringing of a child than another, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes, divorcing spouses have nevertheless both been involved in caring for a child to a significant degree. Joint custody may be an option in these cases.

Adjustment issues

Forcing a child to adjust to a new home or school can substantially disrupt their life. Forcing them to split their time between two parents who live somewhat far from each other can have a similar effect. However, if granting joint custody won’t have a major disruptive impact, a court may do so.


A judge will typically account for the ability of the parents to provide their child with care, support, education, and guidance when making custody decisions. They might be more inclined to grant joint custody if it appears both parents have the capacity to reasonably provide for a child.


Joint custody naturally involves both parents working together to make decisions about a child’s upbringing, daily routine, or both, depending on the type of joint custody that’s granted. Parents must therefore be able to communicate and coordinate to a reasonable degree. A judge will consider whether they appear able to do so when deciding whether to grant joint custody.

Dispute resolution methods

Along with considering whether both parents are generally able to cooperate, a judge will also typically account for the methods they use to resolve disputes about a child’s life, and whether they seem willing and able to apply those methods in a productive and healthy manner.


There are some instances when, for various reasons, it may appear that allowing one parent to have sole custody of a child will be detrimental to said child in some way. If this is the case, joint custody might be granted.

The Parents’ Wishes

Not all divorces involve lengthy and painful disputes. Sometimes, both parents can agree to joint custody. This is often easier to achieve when skilled family lawyers are involved.

A court may of course be more likely to grant joint custody when two parents agree it’s what’s best for a child. However, a judge will also account for the degree to which both parents seem genuinely willing to allow the other to be involved in a child’s life. If there is strong reason to believe one parent won’t actually honor the terms of a joint custody agreement, a judge might feel granting sole custody to the other parent is the better option. That said, a judge is unlikely to overrule the mutual decision of two parents except in very rare circumstances.

Reasons a Court May Grant Joint Custody in Minnesota

Along with the reasons mentioned above, such as a child’s preferences, other reasons a court may grant joint custody in Minnesota include the following:

Relieving Burdens

Raising a child on one’s own can be very difficult. Even if a parent is relatively suited to care for a child, a court may decide they can’t do so on their own. Or, a court may decide that requiring one parent to raise a child without help is unreasonable. This is one of the most common reasons courts grant joint custody.

Promoting Cooperation

Even when one parent is granted sole custody, another parent will often have the right to see their child and be involved in their life to some degree. That parent may then try to be involved in raising the child. This can cause disputes that are not in the child’s best interests.

However, when parents are granted joint custody, a child provides a “common ground.” Both parents must learn to cooperate when making decisions about a child’s upbringing, education, and more. This can be difficult at first, but in the long run, being required to cooperate can help parents learn to work together without friction, resulting in a more desirable outcome for a child.

Optimizing a Child’s Upbringing

A court may determine that both parents have strengths and resources that would benefit a child as they grow up. Depriving a child of those advantages by granting sole custody to one parent might seem to be the wrong decision. In order for a child to receive the maximum benefits, a court may grant joint custody.

Reasons a Court Might Not Grant Joint Custody in Minnesota

Again, abuse and other factors may contribute to a decision not to grant joint custody. Other reasons a court may decide sole custody is the preferred arrangement include:

Stress of Moving

A judge may decide that, based on various factors (such as the distances between the homes of two parents or significant differences in the home environments), frequently moving back and forth between two homes isn’t best for a child. If so, joint custody could be unlikely.


Joint custody can promote greater cooperation for some couples. However, there are instances when two parents simply can’t cooperate, and a joint custody arrangement will result in disputes and conflict that are harmful to a child.

Essentially, developing a parenting plan for a child when you’re going through a divorce can be a complex process that requires accounting for numerous factors, being honest with your spouse about your plans, and perhaps even making concessions, all in the effort to ensure the resolution is in your child’s best interests.

What is Joint Custody? Ask a Family Law Lawyer in Minnesota

This isn’t meant to discourage you. While this process can be difficult, it doesn’t necessarily need to be as challenging as you imagine. A Minnesota divorce lawyer can help you reach an outcome that’s ideal for all parties involved. They’ll also protect your rights if your spouse is demanding sole custody unreasonably.

What Is a Custodial Parent in Minnesota?

Determining the rights and duties of two parents in family court can be a difficult experience for many understandable reasons. When two separating parents both want custody of a child, it’s natural for them to struggle with their emotions. If you’re asking what is a custodial parent in Minnesota, it may be time to educate yourself.

It’s also natural for parents going through this experience to struggle simply because they may not understand the legal definitions of some of the terms courts use in these circumstances. For example, a court in Minnesota may need to determine which parent of a child will be deemed the “custodial parent” when parents are separating or divorcing.

The best way to fully understand the meaning of terms like custodial parent is to enlist the help of a family law attorney who can explain them to you. However, this blog will cover the basics. It defines what a custodial parent is in Minnesota, what a custodial parent’s rights include, how parents may share custody of a child, and how courts decide who should be a custodial parent.

What a Custodial Parent Is

The laws defining the rights and responsibilities of a custodial parent vary from one state to another to some degree. In general, though, a custodial parent is the parent who serves as a child’s primary caregiver. Although a child may spend some of their time with another parent, for the most part, the custodial parent is the parent with whom they live.

Sometimes, a court officially names someone a custodial parent by granting them legal or physical custody over a child. However, there are also instances when someone may be considered a custodial parent because they’ve reached an informal agreement with a child’s other parent. Additionally, if there is only one parent involved in a child’s life, they would qualify as the custodial parent by default.

Defining the Two Types Child Custody in Minnesota

As the above section referenced, there are generally two types of custody a court may grant a parent in Minnesota: physical and legal. It’s important to understand the difference between the two. Many don’t realize physical custody and legal custody aren’t necessarily interchangeable terms.

Under Minnesota law, when a parent is granted physical custody of a child, they have the right to make decisions about where a child lives. They can also make basic decisions about a child’s daily routine. Thus, to serve as a custodial parent, a parent must have physical custody.

A parent who’s been granted legal custody of a child has the right to make decisions about how that child is raised. These can include decisions about a child’s education, health care, and religious upbringing. However, because a child may not spend most of their time living with a parent who has legal custody, being granted legal custody doesn’t necessarily mean one has custodial parent rights and duties.

Sole Custody vs. Joint Custody in Minnesota

A court may grant one parent sole custody over a child. When this happens, they are the only parent with a custodial parent’s legal rights and responsibilities.

However, a judge may determine that joint custody is the preferable arrangement for a child. If parents are granted joint legal custody, they both have the right to make critical decisions about how to raise a child. If they’re granted joint physical custody, a structure must be established to ensure both parents have the opportunity to make decisions about a child’s day-to-day life and routine.

It’s important to understand that, even within the same family, a judge may determine that different custody arrangements are ideal for different children. For example, they might grant sole custody of a younger child to one parent, while granting both parents joint custody of an older child.

What’s More Common: Joint Custody or Sole Custody?

Minnesota’s child custody laws are designed with the assumption that in most circumstances, it’s best for both parents to have the chance to make decisions about a child’s overall upbringing. Thus, Minnesota courts tend to grant joint legal custody to parents. 

That said, there are exceptions. For instance, if two parents aren’t able to communicate or coordinate with one another in a manner that would best serve a child’s needs, a judge might be more inclined to grant sole custody to one parent. This might be the case when domestic violence or similar factors are involved.

Sharing Custodial Parent Duties

Some parents understandably wonder how they’ll successfully make decisions about a child’s upbringing they can both agree on when a court grants joint custody. If they have differing opinions about certain issues, how can they arrive at resolutions?

To some degree, parents may need to navigate these difficulties together. However, in Minnesota, when a judge grants joint custody, they can make determinations regarding the specific types of decisions each parent can make.

For example, maybe two parents have been granted joint custody. Each wants to raise a child in their own religion. The problem is, they don’t share the same religious beliefs.

Technically, legal custody involves the right to make decisions about religious upbringing. That said, in a case like this, a judge may grant joint custody while also deciding that one parent will have the right to determine which religion a child is raised in.

Factors a Court Weighs When Determining Who Should Be a Custodial Parent

Ideally, two parents who are separating from one another will be able to come to an agreement regarding which parent a child will spend most of their time living with. Of course, it’s not uncommon for parents to be unable to agree on this issue.

A court must determine who should be assigned a custodial parent’s rights and duties when this happens. To make a decision that’s in the best interests of the child or children involved, a court must account for a variety of factors. They include the following:

What Is a Custodial Parent vs. Previous Roles

In some instances, one parent has already served as a child’s primary day-to-day caregiver. They may have been the parent most likely to cook a child’s meals, address their health and medical needs, discipline them, etc. A court may be more likely to assign the role of custodial parent to this individual.

Courts also frequently consider how long a child has lived in a particular setting when determining who should serve as a custodial parent. It might be decided that removing a child from a home they’re accustomed to and forcing them to adjust to a new living situation would not be in their best interests.


A court may factor in the degree of intimacy in a relationship between a child and both parents when determining who should be the custodial parent. This can be difficult to evaluate, but essentially, if a child is obviously closer to one parent, the court might determine that parent should have custody.

The nature of other relationships within a family might also influence a court’s decision. Relationships with siblings, relatives who live with one parent, and other important individuals in a child’s life could play a role in an eventual decision.

A Child’s Wishes

If a court determines a child is mature enough to make their own decisions regarding who should serve as their custodial parent, this might be another factor affecting the ruling.

Usually, a court won’t consider a child able to make these types of decisions if they’re younger than 12 years of age. As always, though, there may be exceptions.

Contact and Communication Between the Custodial and Non-Custodial Parent

Except in unique circumstances (again, such as instances of abuse), the goal when assigning custodial parent rights is to ensure the non-custodial parent still has the opportunity to see their child and be involved in their life to a reasonable degree. According to Minnesota Statutes §518.175, unless a parent is abusive, neglectful, or generally is incapable of providing a child with the care they deserve, a parent is entitled to at least 25% of a child’s parenting time.

In family court, it may be clear that one parent would be more inclined to allow the other parent to visit a child often enough to satisfy the legal requirements under Minnesota law. This is yet another factor that may affect who will or will not be assigned the role of custodial parent.

Cultural Background

Parents don’t always come from the same cultures. Although this is by no means the only factor that will determine who becomes a custodial parent, a court’s decision may be at least somewhat influenced by whether a child seems to be more “at home” in the culture of one particular parent.

Custodial Parents and Child Support in Minnesota

Up until fairly recently, labels such as “sole physical custody,” “primary physical custody,” and “primary physical residence” carried a high degree of weight in Minnesota. In most cases, a custodial parent who had primary physical custody of a child was the parent who would receive child support payments from the other parent. 

That’s not necessarily the case any longer. Due to recent changes to Minnesota’s laws, courts will now consider the income of both parents when determining who should receive child support payments. They’ll also factor in the percentage of parenting time each parent will have.

How an Attorney Specializing in Family Law Minnesota Can Help

All that said, it’s important to remember that this is merely a general overview. These issues and topics are very complicated. To thoroughly understand what a custodial parent is in Minnesota, and to improve your chances of being granted custodial parent rights, strongly consider hiring a qualified family law attorney.


Role of a Custodial Parent in Family Law in Minnetonka

The aim of family law in Minnetonka is to help lawmakers make custody determinations that bring about stability in the lives of the children involved. The custody decisions enable the children, regardless of their age, to have a place they can call home, along with a sense of security. Needless to say, all custody determinations in Minnesota are made in keeping with the “best interests” of the children, without losing sight of child support laws 2018.

Under state law, family law in Minnetonka acknowledges two types of custody: legal and physical custody. Here’s a brief explanation of both.

1. Legal custody: This refers to the decision-making process involving crucial life choices for minor children. The parent with legal custody makes important decisions related to the child’s religion, medical care, and education, and schooling, among others.

2. Physical custody: This impacts the primary residence of minor children. The parent with physical custody is the one with whom the minor children will reside.

Broadly speaking, the custodial parent is the primary parent who the children live with. This usually means that the court has granted primary legal or physical custody to one of the parents, or the parents have made a mutual agreement, or only one parent is present in the children’s lives. Being the custodial parent, therefore, comes with several responsibilities.

The following tips are meant to help custodial parents in Minnesota better understand their role in raising their children.

1. Create and Follow a Visitation Schedule

The custodial parent should create a parenting plan and schedule with the non-custodial parent. Doing so will help you come up with a concrete visitation schedule. In the absence of such a parenting plan, the Minnesota court will enforce a visitation schedule for both parents to follow. If the visitation schedule needs any changes, the custodial parent should give the non-custodial parent advance notice about it.

2. Protect the Best Interests of Your Children

Family law in Minnetonka emphasizes the “best interests of the child” as the legal standard when pronouncing any child custody-related verdicts. The best interests of the child, essentially, means that the parents will always place the needs of their children before their own. This is done to ensure that the children’s physical and mental well-being are taken into account before any decision is made.

3. Consult the Non-Custodial Parent Whenever Necessary

A parent who shares joint custody of the children should make it a point to involve their ex whenever a meaningful issue related to their children’s upbringing springs up. It is important to remember that children need both their parents as they’re growing up. Have an honest discussion about how you and your ex will manage your children’s upbringing and the various challenges that come with it. This will help you put a plan of action in place, which can be implemented as and when required.

4. Record Child Support Payments

Your lawyer may have already acquainted you with the child support laws of 2018. Accordingly, if you receive child support payments, it is important that you chronicle them as they come in. This will help you gather proof of payment, in case you need to request back child support payments in court.

5. Inform the Non-Custodial Parent If Moving out of Minnesota with Children

If you desire to relocate with your children, you should discuss the matter with the non-custodial parent before acting on it. This is because family law in Minnetonka gives the non-custodial parent the right to know about the whereabouts of their children. Further, the non-custodial may approach the court for changing the child custody verdict as a result of your uninformed relocation.

Remember, the court will take into account multiple factors before allowing you to relocate. This is different from taking a vacation with your children though, in which case, the court may still ask you to inform the non-custodial parent about the vacation beforehand.


6. Consult the Non-Custodial Parent before Incurring Huge Childcare Expenses

If your ex is liable for covering half of the childcare expenses or extraordinary medical expenses of your children, you should consult with them before making any major related expenses. These reasons with the intention of upholding the best interest of the child. It is important to ensure that your ex is, in fact, capable of covering major costs. This, however, does not mean that you cannot make expensive purchases. The resolution can be as simple as waiting until payday and then making the purchase.


As you can see, being the custodial parent is no walk in the park. While you do get to share your home and life with your children, you also have certain responsibilities towards family law in Minnetonka as well as the non-custodial parent. The above tips will help you better understand your role in your children’s lives and make sound decisions in their best interests.

Reach out to Our Seasoned Family Lawyer in Minnetonka Today

Custody decisions can be life-changing for parents as well as children. Make sure your children are always under the best care and that their interests are well-protected. Our skilled legal team at Carlson & Jones, P.A. will help you understand family law in Minnetonka as well as its implications on your life. Call us right away at (855) 976-2444 to schedule a free consultation. You can also reach us via our website.

How to Win Full Child Custody as Per Family Law in Buffalo, MN

When children are involved, the trickiest and most challenging factor in a divorce is child custody. As both parents are equally entitled to get custody of their children, the battle to win full or sole custody often drags on for years.

If your spouse is unwilling to compromise or wants to harass you, they will block your every attempt to win full custody of your kids. As professional divorce attorneys in Buffalo, we have come across more than a few such cases. However, the court will always take the children’s best interest into consideration when making child custody decisions.

A. Becoming the Custodial Parent

In Minnesota, the court awards two types of child custody: physical and legal custody.

Physical custody determines where the children will live after the divorce, and the parent awarded this custody raises the children. Like most states, physical custody is often awarded to one parent in Minnesota as well. The other parent gets visitation rights.

Legal custody involves the right to make important decisions about the children, such as religious upbringing, medical and healthcare, and education. Usually, the court will award legal custody to both parents.

Most parents want to win primary physical custody and become a custodial parent. As the court has the final say in this matter, you need to hire a lawyer who knows the divorce law in Buffalo inside-out. Only an experienced, professional, and skilled lawyer can help you become a custodial parent.

B. Tips to Win Full Custody

As mentioned, the court considers the best interest of the children when making the custody decision. There are a few ways to prove to the court that you are worthy of raising your child. If you can prove this, the court may award you full custody.

1. UnderstandFamily Law

The first step is to understand the family law in your jurisdiction. While you can find a lot of information online, it is better to consult an attorney practicing family law in Buffalo. They can help you understand the factors that courts usually consider when determining child custody.

Furthermore, each child custody case is unique. So, consulting a divorce attorney in Buffalo will help you know exactly where you stand. For example, in most cases, the court will award joint legal custody while awarding physical custody to only one parent. In some cases, however, one parent can get both legal and physical custody. Talk to your lawyer to know the most likely outcome in your case and how to proceed.

2. Try to Be a Better Parent

When seeking sole custody, you should focus on being a better parent. In other words, you will need to ensure your children’s physical as well as mental well-being. Make sure you are aware of their routine. Keep track of all their school activities, medical appointments, sleeping and eating habits, and social interactions.

You will also need to look after the mental well-being of your kids. You need to help your children adjust to their new lifestyle. Divorce can be hard on many children. So, you will need to be extra careful during this time. As a better parent, the court will expect you to provide your kids with an overall healthy lifestyle. Be sure to provide them with it.

3. Be Practical and Honest

Although family law in Buffalo allows you to get full custody, you need to be practical. You need to consider your work schedule, location, and income, among other things, before you decide to fight for sole custody.

For example, if you are working two jobs, you are less likely to spend time with your kids. Would you rather your kids spent time with your ex or a nanny? It is usually in the best interest of children to be with their parents.

If your current work location is in a different city, state, or country, you will need to consider if your children can adapt to this change. As your kids are going through considerable emotional stress already, the last thing you would want is to take them away from their friends.

That’s why you should always be practical and honest when making custody-related requests in court. Being unreasonable will only turn the odds against you. You can talk to your lawyer and even your ex to work out a solution suitable for everyone.

4. Document Your Actions

As per the family law in Buffalo, the burden of proof lies on the parents. You may already be a better parent than your ex or soon-to-be-ex. However, you will need to prove it in court. You will need to gather evidence to prove your active involvement in your children’s lives.

So, you need to maintain your own records of everything, including parenting schedule, school activities, and visitation schedule, among other things. You can talk to your lawyer to know what needs to be documented and for how long.


In most cases, more than anything, divorcing parents want full custody of their kids. However, custody battles are often challenging. Hopefully, these tips will help you prepare for yours. Remember though, as each child custody case is unique, be sure to talk to a competent attorney before making any decisions. Good luck!

Need a Consultation on Family Law in Buffalo? Call Us Now!

As a leading divorce attorney in Buffalo, Carlson & Jones, P.A. can provide you with all services related to divorce and child custody. No matter how complicated your case is, our experts will help you find a suitable solution. Call us on (855) 976-2444 or contact us online to know more about our legal services.

The Dos and Don’ts of Winning Your Child Custody Battle in Brainerd, MN

If you are getting a divorce and have children, the most challenging part of your legal separation will be the child custody battle. In their heart, both parents are committed to winning the primary physical child custody. However, most custody battles are difficult to win, owing to the complications involved in such cases.

Custody battles are also time-consuming, expensive, and emotionally draining. You need to have a proper plan of action to increase your chance of winning custody. If you are consulting an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, they will probably discuss a strategy with you before filing for custody.

If you haven’t already hired an attorney, the following dos and don’ts can prove helpful.

1. Try to Work Out a Solution with Your Ex

One of the best ways to resolve a custody dispute quickly and cost-effectively is to collaborate with your spouse. As parents, you both have the right to love and take care of your children. Even if you have fallen apart with your ex, they are still a part of your children’s lives.

Showing a willingness to resolve the custody dispute amicably can benefit your children in the long run. Before resorting to any legal means, make sure to sit down with your ex and discuss the issue.

Be practical when deciding who gets primary physical child custody. As a parent, you should always keep your children’s best interests in mind when making these decisions.

2. Don’t Despise Your Ex

Another essential measure is to keep your emotions out of the picture until your child custody dispute settles. Trash-talking your ex in front of the judge and the jury, or even your experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd is not a good idea. Talking negatively about your ex is usually frowned upon by almost everyone involved in this legal process.

You should also not speak negatively about your ex to your children. Many divorcing couples use their children as pawns to assassinate the character of their spouse. However, this strategy is almost always likely to backfire in court. Plus, you will be putting your children through additional emotional stress in what already seems like an unbearable situation for them.

3. Document All Your Communication

If possible, try to communicate with your ex. You need to proactively inform your ex about your children’s schedule, school activities, medical appointments, and other social activities.  However, make sure to document all your communication. Keep a record of everything from text messages and emails to voicemails and video chats. You can talk to your attorney about any additional precautions you need to take when communicating with your ex.

Your communication is a critical piece of evidence that can help prove your willingness to cooperate. So, make sure to share your children’s report cards, activity schedules, and other important stuff with your ex. Documenting communication can also help prove your ex’s unwillingness to collaborate, strengthening your chance of winning the custody battle.

4. Don’t Behave Recklessly

As soon as you start your custody battle, your experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd will tell you to be on your best behavior. Make sure to take their advice seriously. You need to avoid any friction with the law while your child custody case is going on.

You must never drink too much alcohol or consume any drugs even when your kids are not around. Remember, a simple DUI can also impact the outcome of your child custody case. The court may see you as an irresponsible or reckless individual, deeming you unfit as a parent. Apart from ruining your chances of winning custody, these poor life choices will also hurt your children.

5. Make Sure to Follow Court’s Requests

As mentioned, child custody battles are time-consuming. Until there is a verdict, the court will pass several temporary orders for both parties. These orders are meant to ensure the well-being of children until the process is complete.

Whether you need to attend a counseling session or share your children’s schedule with your ex, you need to follow every request the court makes of you. By doing so, you can show the court your commitment to cooperate and resolve the dispute amicably.

6. Don’t Hide Anything from Your Lawyer

Lastly, try not to hide anything from your attorney. If you withhold information or lie, not even an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd can help you win. Make sure to provide your lawyer with all the facts related to your custody dispute.

Don’t exaggerate any facts about your ex. Your ex’s lawyer will unearth your secrets at some point during the custody dispute, making it difficult for your lawyer to win the case. Whether you are seeing a psychiatrist or were arrested for a DUI recently, make sure to share this information with your attorney immediately.


While hiring the best attorney can help increase your chances of winning child custody, you also need to take a few additional precautions. Although there are no guarantees, hopefully, these dos and don’ts can help strengthen your case. However, no two child custody disputes are the same. So, make sure to consult your lawyer before making any decisions.

Talk to an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in BrainerdNow

Most child custody disputes are challenging, requiring you to hire competent, experienced, and professional lawyers like Carlson and Jones, P.A., in Brainerd. Our team will go the extra mile to help you win your children’s custody. Call us on (855) 976-2444 to know more. You can also contact us through our website.

How Your Criminal History Can Impact Your Child Custody Case in Brainerd, MN

It is relatively easier for married couples who don’t have children to get a divorce. But for divorcing parents, the topmost concern is getting child custody.

Child custody disputes are often challenging, especially when both parents provide the court with compelling arguments. Both parents are interested in winning either physical or legal custody of their kids as soon as possible.

Like in any other state, the courts in Minnesota also consider the best interest of the children when settling custody disputes. That’s why, the criminal history of both parents plays a critical role in determining child custody. If you have a criminal record, no matter how insignificant, you should consult an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN before taking any decision.

Let’s see how the process works and whether you can win a child custody battle despite having a criminal record.

1. How Is Child Custody Determined in Brainerd, MN

In Minnesota, you need to meet the residency requirements to file for child custody. The law states that the child must have lived with the parent or the person acting as a parent for at least six consecutive months. There are exceptions to this rule. However, it is better to consult an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN to understand whether these exceptions apply in your case.

Like most other states, Minnesota also offers two primary forms of child custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines which parent the children can stay with. Usually, one of the parents gets physical custody. In some cases, however, both parents can share joint physical custody of their children.

On the other hand, legal custody determines which parent will have the right to make decisions about the upbringing of the children. It usually gives you the right to make decisions regarding religion, medical treatment, and education, among other things.

2. Factors Considered to Determine the Child Custody

Keeping the best interests of the children in mind is top priority when making child custody decisions in Minnesota. As per the Minnesota law, the courts consider 12 different factors when determining child custody.

First on the list is the physical safety and mental well-being of the children, followed by their educational and medical needs. The court will also consider children’s preferences if they are old enough. Furthermore, the court will take into account parenting time, social development of the children, physical and mental fitness of parents, financial situation, and willingness of both parents to cooperate.

However, each child custody case is different. That’s why you are better off consulting an experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN before making any decision. It is also possible to resolve custody issues amicably or through mediation, which is less stressful and more affordable.

3. Can You Win a Child Custody Battle Despite a Criminal Record?

When determining child custody in Minnesota, the court will look at your and your spouse’s criminal history. They will also check the criminal record of your new partner if you are in a relationship. However, the family court will look at your criminal history from the perspective of how it could affect your ability to raise the children.

In other words, if your criminal record consists of felony offenses and convictions, you are less likely to win a child custody battle. For example, if you have a history of violence, it will most certainly affect your ability to get custody even if the crime was committed before the child was born.

If you have been convicted of crimes like domestic violence, sexual abuse, and child abuse, the court is more likely to sack your rights as a parent. The court will take this decision based on the logical assumption that it is not in the best interest of the children to stay with a violent and/or abusive parent.

However, if you have an isolated incident, such as underage drinking or a DUI, you are still likely to win a child custody battle as the family court will be considerate. Also, if you are being charged with a crime and not yet convicted, your experienced child custody lawyer in Brainerd, MN can pursue the court to put less weight on charges compared to a conviction.

But, if you are convicted of the said crime, it could result in the revocation of your parental rights in future. That’s why you should make sure your criminal defense lawyer and child custody attorney are on the same page. You should never hide any criminal history from your lawyer.


As you can see, your criminal history may have a significant impact on your child custody battle. However, there are no generalizations when considering prior criminal behavior of a parent filing for child custody as each case has its own merits and demerits. Overall, it is necessary to hire a competent child custody attorney as soon as possible to increase your chances of winning your children’s custody.

Talk to an Experienced Child Custody Lawyer in Brainerd, MN Today!

As a parent, you have the right to be involved in your children’s lives even after the divorce. If you are filing for or contesting child custody in Brainerd, MN, Carlson & Jones, P.A. can help you. Our experienced lawyers will fight for and protect your parental rights. Call us on (855) 976-2444 or contact us online to schedule an appointment.

Call For A Free Consultation (877) 344-1555Free Consultation

Buffalo Lawyers

215 East Highway 55, Suite 201
Buffalo, MN 55313

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (612) 800-8057
Fax: 763-682-3330

Office Details
Map and Directions

Brainerd Lawyers

17025 Commercial Park Rd, Suite 2
Brainerd, MN 56401

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (218) 736-9429
Fax: 763-682-3330

Office Details
Map and Directions

Hutchinson Lawyers

114 Main Street North
Hutchinson, MN 55350

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (320) 289-4761
Fax: 763-682-3330

Office Details
Map and Directions

Minnetonka Lawyers

3911 Ridgedale Dr, Suite 404E
Minnetonka, MN 55305

Toll Free: (877) 344-1555
Phone: (952) 260-9640
Fax: 763-682-3330

Office Details
Map and Directions