Men often feel as if they are at a disadvantage in family law matters. There are persistent urban legends that insist that fathers don’t receive the same treatment as mothers in the Minnesota family courts.
Even if you want shared custody, you may feel like your chances of securing it aren’t good because of your family circumstances. For example, maybe you separated from the mother of your child while she was still pregnant. You might assume that you can’t get shared custody of an infant or a very young child. However, that is not the case.
Fathers can play an active role from the first days of life
Sharing custody of an infant does present certain challenges. Overnight visits may not be practical during the first month of a child’s life, but that doesn’t mean a father has to wait 6 months before he has any parenting time.
Instead of one lengthy visit a week, multiple, shorter visits can help a father be present for their newborn child and develop a crucial bond in their earliest months of life. A parenting plan that reflects the changing needs of your child as they grow older will help you stay as involved as possible.
In some cases, you may need to go back to the family courts to request a modification of the existing custody order when your child’s needs change as they grow older. Terms that were appropriate for an infant will not be as appropriate for a two-year-old child who is far more independent of their primary caregiver than an infant who cannot move unassisted.
Understanding your rights as a father and what will be best for your children will help you make the most of shared custody in Minnesota.