Divorce comes with many nuances and complexities that only heighten when a couple has a child together.
In Minnesota, the courts focus on the solution that benefits the child the most. To determine that, they must consider many different factors. Five of the key elements of determining a child’s best interest include the following.
1. Emotional and physical needs of the child
A child’s safety and wellness always come first. The courts will look at how a custody decision will impact the child’s psychological, emotional and physical well-being. A parent with any history of domestic abuse will likely not get custodial rights.
2. Potential preference of the child
Within reason, the courts will take in a child’s opinion regarding which parent should have custody. The child must have a level of maturity and age and express their preferences without any undue influence by one of the parents.
3. Parental ability to meet a child’s needs
Along with the ability to take care of the child now, the courts want to ensure proper ongoing care. The courts examine each parent’s ability to continue providing changing care as the child’s needs change.
4. Effect on relationships and social development of the child
Stability remains an important element for any child growing up. A school-aged child who has already established friendships may have an easier time with a divorce by not having life interrupted by changing schools.
5. Parental willingness to cooperate
In any divorce, the parents’ wishes come second. Showing a willingness to work together to make visitation and custody work may make one parent more favorable than the other.
Even if custody does not go in one’s favor, the courts have made changes to ensure that the noncustodial parent can provide the support needed without facing financial ruin.