In Minnesota, there are two forms of child custody, legal custody and physical custody. The Court must make a determination regarding each form of Minnesota custody. Here, I will discuss legal custody.

Minnesota law defines legal custody as:

(a) "Legal custody" means the right to determine the child's upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training.

(b) "Joint legal custody" means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities, including the right to participate in major decisions determining the child's upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training.

In Minnesota child custody cases, the Minnesota Courts determine who will receive legal custody based on the best interests of the child factors as discussed under “Minnesota Child Custody” in this website. The Court uses a rebuttable presumption that upon request of either or both parents, joint legal custody is in the best interests of the child. Therefore, for most legal custody determinations, the parents receive joint legal custody. If the parents are unable to agree on how to structure legal custody, the often times a custody evaluation will be ordered to investigate the issue and make recommendations to the parents and to the Court.