By law, a mother is not necessarily more likely to be granted custody over a child’s father. Rather, custody is determined based upon a number of factors, which are outlined in MN 518.17. Among the factors that help to determine child custody in a divorce case or separation, the most important deal with the custody preference of the parents and child, the child’s relationship to each parent, and the most stable and consistent custody arrangement possible given the two previous considerations. If you are concerned about retaining custody of your child, it is important to remember that while the legal system is meant to work with and for you, it can become adversarial, particularly if you participate in a courtroom custody battle. By working for Amber M Serwat Mediation, however, you can avoid conflict-fueled custody battles and come to a fair custody agreement based on your needs, your child’s needs, and the needs of your parenting partner with as little pain as possible.

Depending on your preferences and the preferences of your parenting partner, you may find that coming to a reasonable parenting schedule is more simple than you imagined. However, that is not often the case, as both parents are typically hoping to keep as “normal” a relationship with their children as possible. If a “normal” relationship involves seeing your child every day, then you will likely need to reach some form of compromise. When compromising, it is helpful to consider the needs and wishes of the child, if appropriate, evaluating his or her desire to spend time with each parent or family member.

Evaluating a Child’s Relationship to Each Parent

Determining a child’s relationship to each parent is a crucial element of custody decisions, as the intimacy of child’s relationship to their mother or father can vary significantly from child to child. If you have been the primary caregiver for your child, or if you have spent significantly more time with your child than their other parent, then it may be appropriate for your child to spend the majority of their time with you.
Determining the Most Stable Custody Arrangement for a Child
Creating a stable custody arrangement involves coming to an agreement that suits the needs of you, your spouse, and your child. In order to promote routine in your child’s life, it is best to create a simple custody arrangement that you each can depend upon for stability, even when conflict arises. This stable custody agreement can only be reached by evaluating the important factors mentioned and considering the benefits and drawbacks of every custody scenario. At Amber M Serwat Mediation, our Burnsville, Minnesota divorce mediators can help you determine a fair custody agreement, ensuring that you avoid the cost and emotional strain of court. Contact us at 952-252-1492 or to learn more about parents’ custody rights and how custody is determined.


The safety of clients, ourselves, and colleagues is our top priority while we remain available to assist you as you navigate the new and uncharted territory caused by the coronavirus pandemic.


Offering All Services Virtually

While providing virtual ADR services was not part of our plan, we have made the necessary accommodations to ensure we can continue to serve our clients during these unsettling times. All services are currently available through virtually. We are using Zoom for videoconferencing. We suggest that you download this app to your phone or the program to your computer at


Limited In-Person Services

We have resumed limited in-person services for sessions with 1 or 2 participants scheduled for a maximum of 2 hours. Masks are required in our building and in session. Availability is subject to change based on local regulations and CDC guidelines.


Office Hours

Our office hours remain the same and we remain available by phone and email. The main office number is 952.252.1492. Gabe can be reached via email at


New Clients Welcome

We offer free 1-hour divorce consultations via Zoom. Potential PC and PTE clients are invited to schedule a free 15-minute phone call. Please call 952.252.1492 to set up an appointment. We are here to help!

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we all continue to adapt to these rapidly changing and chaotic times. Stay strong, stay resilient, and stay healthy!


Amber Serwat & Gabe Frye
ADR Professional & ADR Assistant

Divorce Mediation & Dispute Resolution Services - Amber Serwat Mediation

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