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Do you understand the murky "best interests" rule for custody?

Going through a divorce can be a frustrating and often confusing experience. It is hard to understand what will happen to you and your children. Everyone has heard a few horror stories about good parents who lose custody to a scheming former spouse in a contentious divorce. That can leave you worried and afraid of what the future could bring.

The good news is that biased and unfair outcomes are less common than the media would have you think. In fact, the courts tend to do the best they can to create a fair and reasonable resolution to custody disputes.

Minnesota family courts focus on the best interest of the child

When determining how to split up custody, the guiding factor that the Minnesota courts consider is the best interests of the child. People often find that confusing, and they may assume that term means that the wealthiest or most stable parent will wind up getting full custody.

However, the best interests of a child are far more nuanced than that. Most children benefit from social stability, but also from a relationship with both parents. The courts are likely to consider a way to split custody between you and your ex so that you can both support your children as they grow.

Shared custody can result in conflict in some cases, but it can also make the transition from one family situation to a new one easier on the children.

Establish yourself as reasonable parents focused on the needs of your kids

If you come into court complaining about what you want and need out of the divorce but never speaking about what will be best for your kids, you can be certain that the courts will take notice of that. They want to see that you are engaged with your children and focused on keeping things as easy as possible for them during and after the divorce.

The courts also like to see ex-spouses who agree to work with one another regardless of their personal feelings. If you can set aside your anger and resentment and leave the focus on your children, that will benefit your kids and also potentially benefit you in the final custody determination in your divorce.

The courts will consider the details of your family life

Determining how to split custody in the best interests of the children requires reflecting carefully on the family situation. The courts are going to look at the emotional ties and the relationship between both parents and the kids. They will also look at sibling relationships and other adults who play a role in your family.

Concerns about stability, including the ability to provide food and housing, can also play a role. The courts may even consider both physical and emotional issues experienced by the child or either parent while dividing up custody. Working with an attorney who understands the Minnesota family courts can help you protect your relationship with your children during a divorce.

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