There are a lot of unknowns when you first start the divorce process. You don’t know what your final settlement will look like. If you have children, you may not know how much time you will get with them when everything is over. You want joint custody, but will you get it?
The good news is that joint custody is the custody option of choice in most states, Minnesota included. There are plenty of studies that suggest children having equal time with their parents is to their benefit in the long run. Unless there is a reason to deny a request for joint custody, getting it is in the realm of possibility.
Available custody options
There are two types of custody recognized by the state — legal and physical. Legal custody refers to which parent has the right to make decisions for their children, and physical custody refers to with whom the children will reside. The court can grant both on a sole or joint basis — sole meaning one parent receives custody, and joint meaning both parents receive custody.
Reasons to deny joint custody
As previously stated, unless there is a reason to deny your request for joint custody, you may get it. Reasons to deny custody include:
- History of physical abuse
- History of drug or alcohol abuse
- Unsuitable living arrangements
- Relocation of children approved
The list can go on. The point is, the court typically only denies joint custody if it believes that your children will be in danger if left in your care, or if your ex needs to move and he or she has proven that moving the children will be in their best interests.
Do children get a say?
When the court deems your children mature enough to decide with which parent they wish to live, yes, they do get a say. They will have to go through an interview process for the court to decide if they are capable of making such a decision.
Fight for what you think is best for your children
In the end, you may have to fight for what you think is best for your children, as your ex may not agree with you. If you believe joint custody is best for them and you, then request it. By any luck, you and your ex will agree to a custody arrangement that gives you equal time and say, but if you don’t, legal counsel can help you address the matter in court.