Divorce is always difficult, emotionally and financially. When children are involved these and many other issues are heightened. Even in the most difficult divorce at some point a plan has to be in place for the best interests of the children.
If you are considering a divorce, or have been served notice that it has been filed, it is important to know how it may proceed for both you and your children. With the right support you can get through this and have a better life. The custody battles will be resolved, even in high conflict cases.
Types of custody
When the parents are living apart there are two types of custody in Minnesota, as in nearly every state. They are:
- Legal custody, or the right to make long-term decisions about how the child is raised.
- Physical custody, or the day to day care of the child.
These two rights are determined separately, so you can have one without the other. They are usually assigned on a temporary basis once there is a break-up if one or both party asks the court to make such a decision.
Visitation rights are a form of physical custody granted on a limited bases when a parent does not have legal custody. You need to know just what you want for your children and how this might work, especially in high conflict cases involving drug addiction, abuse, or other serious problems.
Agreements go beyond rights
Minnesota law allows but does not require a parenting plan for the raising of children. This is an agreement where the day to day life and long term decisions are laid out and agreed to by both parties. It also lays out how communications will take place and disputes will be handled.
It is almost always a good idea to have one in place, especially in a high conflict case. The alternative is going back to court constantly for everything which may arise, and that does not work for anyone. The courts may require such a plan or the outline of one for this reason.
Even with a judgment in place which includes a parenting plan, many divorced parents still experience difficult times. The court will decide any issues which cannot be worked out as part of an agreement, so it is important that you understand exactly what you and your children need most.
The courts will always decide based on what they determine is in the best interest of the child. There are a number of factors which go into this decision, but it is primarily on your ability to provide a safe, loving, and nurturing home. All conflicts that arise will be based first and foremost on those considerations.
The process does seem overwhelming. But you can get through it with good advice that starts with listening to you about your situation and needs. It’s important to have a lawyer with experience in high conflict cases if you expect yours to be difficult so that you can have the advice you need to make the best decisions for your children and make sure that they are followed through.