Losing custody of a child can be understandably upsetting for any Minnesota parent who has ended a marriage. While it’s often the other parent who ends up with custody in situations like this, there are times when a court determines that children will be better cared for by non-parental relatives or the foster care system. Because of the many circumstances that could be involved, winning back custody rights isn’t always an easy process. However, there are some ways a parent may be able to convince the court to have a change of heart.

Judges typically make child custody decisions based on what’s in the best interest of the child. Therefore, a good starting point for a non-custodial parent could be to determine why custody wasn’t granted in the first place. For example, custody may be lost because of violation of an order or untrue allegations of neglect or abuse. In some situations, it may be possible for a parent to regain custody if stipulations were placed on the reconsideration of custody when a temporary or interlocutory order was issued.

If this is the case, promptly complying with demands, such as taking parenting classes or seeking counseling for drug and alcohol issues, sometimes results in favorable actions by the court. Until a re-evaluation occurs, non-custodial parents are encouraged to remain respectful when dealing with their former spouse during visitation pick-ups and drop-offs. It can be equally helpful for a parent to keep scheduled appointments with a court-ordered mediator or guardian ad litem.

A family law attorney may be able to help resolve a child custody dispute or win back custody by either attempting negotiations with the other parent or requesting an in-home child custody evaluation after efforts have been initiated to meet court-required stipulations. If a final ruling on child custody is made that’s not in a client’s favor, a lawyer may recommend filing an appeal. Other times, it might be possible to work out joint custody arrangements if full custody isn’t an option.