Legal and Physical Custody
Legal Custody and Physical Custody are terms defined by Minnesota Statute. Legal custody means the right to determine the child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training. When legal custody is joint, it means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities in making these major decisions. [Minnesota Statute 518.003 Subd. 3 (a),(b)].
Physical Custody means the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child. Joint physical custody means that the routine daily care and control as well as the residence of the child is shared by the parties. [Minnesota Statute 518.003 Subd. 3 (c), (d)].
Once legal and physical custody are determined, modification can only proceed under specific circumstances set forth by statute. The court can only change custody by agreement of both parties; the custodial parent has allowed the child to be integrated into the home of the other parent, or the present environment endangers the child’s physical or emotional health or growth. Therefore, careful thought and consideration must be made when initially determining custody.