Child Custody, Divorce and Joint Custody

When I meet with divorce mediation clients, many of them say that they want joint custody. For most people, that means exactly 50/50 parenting time. Some even want it down to the hour. And though I’m not an attorney, I know Minnesota law for joint custody is not always exactly 50/50. What joint custody means in most of my agreements is that each parent has some time parenting with the child. Joint means “shared.”

What that means with clients is that there is not great need to get 50% parenting time. Getting less than 50% parenting time with your child or children will not mean the other parent has sole physical custody. In fact, recent changes to the Minnesota Child Support calculations means that there is no longer a dramatic shift at 45.1% parenting time. The new calculations are made more gradually, so there is no need to get over that line to pay less child support.

That is good news for the children in divorce and child custody disputes. It is also good news for their parents in divorce or child custody mediation. It means that the children aren’t being fought over for financial reasons. It also means that parents who are short of money can relax and do a schedule that is best for the child and not just one they can pay for. From what lawyers tell me, what is “best for the child” is the way the MN child custody law is written. With the recent changes in the Minnesota Child Support calculator it is even easier to do what is best for the child emotionally and physically.

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