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St. Paul Family Law Blog

Setting up a visitation schedule that works for everyone

Divorce often presents new challenges for parents in Minnesota. One of those obstacles involves the visitation schedule. Many people contact Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law, unaware of the fact that they do have the option of working with the other parent to establish a visitation schedule that works in the best interests of everyone. When you are making this schedule, it is important that you and your ex-spouse consider each other’s needs and those of your children. Regardless of who receives legal or physical custody of the kids, the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent must be honored, unless the courts rule otherwise.

While you are negotiating with your former spouse, keep in mind that maintaining a visitation schedule is an adjustment for everyone. When you and the other parent are creating the schedule, try to be as detailed as possible to prevent potential difficulties and conflicts. There is no “one-size fits all” solution, states The Huffington Post.

How does equitable distribution affect me in a divorce?

You are getting a divorce but are concerned about how your marital property will be split. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, which means the courts will use certain rules to determine how to divide any property and assets that were acquired by you and your spouse during your marriage. To keep your divorce from dragging on, you may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. According to The Huffington Post, you may also be able to divide your assets privately if you previously entered into a postnuptial agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

There are many factors that can affect how the courts will divide your assets. For example, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is the higher-earning partner, the courts may not award you a lot of money or assets if your marriage did not last very long. If there are children involved, the courts may consider awarding a larger share of the marital assets to the parent who has sacrificed his or her career to stay home and raise them. They will also take into consideration your career and educational background, health and age. The courts will assess your post-divorce financial situation and how it impacts your ability to provide for yourself. These rules can have a significant impact on your financial future.

Can I get an annulment instead of a divorce?

Now that the wedding is over, you feel that marrying your spouse was a mistake and you find yourself asking - can I get an annulment instead of a divorce? While both are legal ways to end a marriage in Minnesota, the difference is that an annulment can legally erase your marriage so that it never occurred.

The annulment process is often so time-consuming and complicated that it has become less common for separating spouses to file for it, states website YourTango. Instead, many couples choose to dissolve their marriages by filing for no-fault divorces because they do not have to prove any wrongdoing. To successfully file for an annulment, your marriage must meet be substantiated by one of the following reasons:

  • You or your soon-to-be ex-spouse were married while one of you did not have sufficient mental capacity.
  • You or your ex-partner materially misrepresented his or herself or committed fraud to enter into the marriage.
  • You or your spouse must have never consummated or engaged in marital relations.

Preparing children for two homes

Divorce can be a very challenging time for children in Minnesota, especially when they have to start living in two homes. Parents can prepare their children for the transition to two separate residences by working together to improve their co-parenting skills.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parents should help their children to feel like they have some sort of control over their new living arrangements. Keep them involved in child custody concerns by sharing and discussing the situation with them. Ex-spouses should try to provide their children with as much information as possible while remaining open and honest about the situation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce and future living arrangements, both parents may need to rehearse what they are going to say to their children beforehand.

Co-parenting after divorce: it's almost back-to-school time

It is already midsummer and while it may be hard to imagine, it is not too early to start thinking about preparing for the kids heading back to school. It can be especially important for divorced parents to start the planning process early, particularly if there is a high level of family tension or if major decisions need to be made such as whether a son or daughter should change schools and how that might impact the child's primary residence.

Logistical matters can also arise like choosing new after-school and evening activities or child care programs as well as arranging for the pick-ups and drop-offs and who will provide the related transportation.

Co-parenting for a better relationship

When married couples go through a divorce in Minnesota, it affects the whole family. Parents who are able to co-parent successfully are able to improve their relationship with their children and each other. For many divorcing couples, co-parenting is a challenging situation. Emotions are often still running high from the situation and there may still be a bit of uncertainty about all of the changes that are taking place. Children are more secure when there is stability, structure and routine in both households, according to Psychology Today.

There should be rules and boundaries in each household so that the children and adults know how to act towards each other and what is expected of them as far as behavior and responsibility. Parents who find co-parenting difficult are not limited to interacting and communicating with each other directly. Information can be shared through written correspondence, voicemail, text messages and email.

What happens to my health insurance in a divorce?

During your marriage, your spouse carried you on his or her health insurance policy. Now that you are in the middle of a divorce in Minnesota - you may be wondering what will happen to your health insurance once it is finalized. Divorce can affect your health insurance coverage in a major way. Health insurers allow their policyholders to add their spouses and children and dependents to their coverage as family members. However, Forbes states that once you divorce your spouse, you are no longer related or considered family and will therefore be removed from the policy. Your children are entitled to stay on your ex-spouse's health insurance policy.

Once you start the divorce process, you should contact your health insurer to find out what your options are. You may have the choice of filing for legal separation to keep the health insurance coverage you have through your spouse. However, you should know that divorce and legal separation often mean the same thing to many health insurers and there is no guarantee that this step will keep you insured.

Divorced professionals relocating from Minnesota with children

After a divorce, a parent's employment becomes even more important than before, especially if that parent has the children living at home with him or her for a significant amount of the time. It can be a financial challenge, even with child support and spousal maintenance, to provide the kind of home the children were used to before the family split into two households, which must now be funded by the same amount of incoming collective income.

So, when a Minnesota professional in this situation is told by his or her employer that the job is moving to a new location, often out of state and far away, or that a lucrative promotion is available if relocation is an option, that parent may feel that he or she has no choice but to accept the position and make the move, despite the need for a change in child custody arrangements.

How can I survive financially after my divorce?

Whether you are thinking about filing for divorce or in the midst of one, dealing with the situation is never easy. However, there are some ways you can protect your finances so you can improve your chances for a new start after your divorce has been finalized in Minnesota. First, start making preparations before you file for divorce. GWG Life recommends that you should work towards becoming financially independent. To do this you will need to become more organized so you can learn all you can about your financial situation.

Once you start the divorce process, you will need money for a number of reasons, including becoming accustomed to using one income to support your household. Evaluate your entire financial portfolio and look for unexpected sources of money that you may not be aware of or have forgotten to consider. Look over your statements, invest your money into interest earning accounts and do not forget to check into your retirement and life insurance policies.

Understanding mortgages and divorce

The house is one of the biggest assets a couple has. When the marriage ends, so does the joint ownership of the residence. Unless spouses can agree amicably about who gets to keep the home and who is responsible for the mortgage, things can become complicated. The Minnesota Judicial Branch states that all assets, including real estate, must be divided between spouses fairly. Joint mortgages must become individual mortgages and individual mortgages may switch owners.

In the event that the marital home was purchased before the marriage began, the spouse who took out the loan may automatically get to keep it in the divorce, since it would be considered non-marital property. However, if any of the marital income was used to pay the mortgage and to make improvements to the house, the courts will probably consider how much of that property belongs to the owner and how much of it belongs to the ex-spouse. Any money that was used towards the improvement and purchase of the home that was the sole contribution of the owner will be evaluated in conjunction with any money that was contributed by the ex-spouse during the course of the marriage.

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