How Does Domestic Violence Affect Child Custody in Minnesota?

Minnesota courts take domestic abuse seriously as it relates to child custody.

In most cases, physical custody goes to the parent who provides most of the children’s daily care. Legal custody is typically shared by both parents, who then must work together to make decisions regarding education, medicine, culture, religion and other issues.

This can change if there has been domestic abuse in the family. There are 13 factors Minnesota judges must consider, and domestic abuse is one of them. Domestic abuse between the parents must be considered, but domestic abuse in other familial relationships is also a factor. If a parent had been abusive toward a previous girlfriend, spouse or child, for example, the judge must consider it when determining custody arrangements.

If the court accepts there has been domestic violence in the past between the parents, it is enough reason that a judge could deny all requests for joint custody.

Impact of domestic violence on visitation

A history of domestic violence may also affect visitation rights. If, for example, there is a domestic abuse protection order against the abusive parent, the non-abusive parent could request that parenting time be supervised, with another responsible adult being present at all time. This person could be a friend, relative, safety center, or court-appointed therapist.

For further information and guidance when it comes to domestic violence and child custody, work with a dedicated Minnesota divorce and family law attorney at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A.

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