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St. Paul Family Law Blog

Superstar chef wants court to affirm prenuptial agreement

For many couples in St. Paul, Minnesota, divorce is rarely a clean, neat and unemotional process. There are usually many major details that must be taken care of, including alimony, child custody and child support. And, once these main areas have been agreed to, there are all of the additional details that must be hammered out, including dividing up a couple's real estate and financial holdings. But, if a couple has signed a prenuptial agreement, many of the details that are argued over during a divorce can sometimes be settled more quickly. One celebrity chef obviously believes in this idea, since he recently asked a court of law to enforce a prenuptial agreement that he and his actress wife signed when they got married.

TV superstar chef, Bobby Flay, famous for his chain of restaurants and his appearances on the TV show Iron Chef, recently filed papers with his attorney, asking the court that is hearing his divorce to uphold the legality of his prenuptial agreement with actress Stephanie March. The agreement, which was signed back in 2005, requires that Flay pay March $5,000 a month.

Can you stay legally separated in Minnesota?

It is extremely rare for an engaged couple in St. Paul, Minnesota, or anywhere else in the nation, to be concerned about getting divorced. After all, the couple's life together has not even started so it's understandable if they haven't thought about living apart. However, statistics still show that nearly half of all marriages end in divorce. This sobering fact means that, despite a couple's best intentions, there is a decent chance that their marriage may not make it to the finish line. But, just because a couple decides to separate, does that mean that they must get officially divorced?

The state of Minnesota recognizes that a married couple can live physically separate from each other and there are two separate terms that refer to this situation. If they decide to simply live apart from each other, then the state considers them separated. A couple does not have to file any sort of official court papers to be separated from one another. That is because there isn't any law in the state that requires a couple to live with one another. But, if someone decides to live separate from their spouse, they should really seek the advice of a qualified attorney because this type of action can have an effect on their legal rights. And even though he or she is separated from their spouse, they are still considered married.

One way that Minnesota courts recognize paternity

These days, many divorced Minnesota fathers are fighting for their rights to be a part of their children's lives. Their marriage to their ex-spouse may be over, or maybe they never got married, but these dads realize how important a father is to a child. But, to be a part of their children's lives, they must first establish paternity. Normally, if a couple was married before they divorced, this is not an issue because Minnesota considers the man to be the father, unless otherwise indicated. What can a man in Minnesota do if he wants to be a father to his children, but he has not been recognized as such by any local or state court?

Fortunately, Minnesota offers two ways for a man to establish paternity. The first way discussed here is the easiest. If the man and the mother of his children both sign a sworn statement, stating that the man is the father of the children in question, that is usually enough. The form, called a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) form, can be obtained either from the hospital where the children were delivered or from the local Minnesota Child Support Office. Interested couples can also call the Minnesota Department of Human Services at (651) 431-2000. Once the form has been completed, it must then be mailed to the Department of Health, Office of the State Registrar in St. Paul. However, just filling out the ROP isn't enough. If the form is not mailed to the Department of Health, then the ROP isn't valid.

90s British rocker settles New York child support case

If you ask any St. Paul, Minnesota resident to identify the hardest details to iron out during a divorce, chances are that they'll probably tell you that it is child support. Child support, from both the custodial parent and the non-custodial parent is critical for the proper physical, emotional and psychological development of a child whose parents are divorced. And if both parents cannot agree on the proper amount of child support, then it is usually the child who will suffer the most.

Recently, English rocker Liam Gallagher, from the 1990s super group Oasis settled his child support case with journalist Lisa Ghorbani who is the mother of their two year old daughter. Gallagher, who had been paying Ghorbani $5,000 per month, has agreed to change that amount. While the details of the settlement are confidential, the judge in the case said that the settlement was appropriate.

How does a Minnesota court define the best interest of a child?

Many Minnesota residents these days have gone through a divorce. For some citizens it might not have been very upsetting, while for others the process may have been devastating, both emotionally and psychologically. But a lot of divorced individuals would agree that the most difficult aspect of the process was determining child custody. Minnesota courts, like most others in the nation, uses the term "best interests of the child" in order to determine which parent becomes the custodial parent and which one becomes the noncustodial parent. But what aspects of the individuals involved does the court examine in order to determine the child's best interests?

For a Minnesota court, determining the best interests of a child involves a stringent set of statutes that must be taken into account before a judgment can be rendered. These statues, specifically section 518.17 Custody And Support, consist of 13 specific areas. The first, and perhaps most important of these factors is the preference of the individuals involved in the divorce. That means that both parents have the opportunity to express their feelings about what parent the child should stay with. If the child is older and the court believes that he or she can logically state their preference, then the court may give consideration to the child's opinion.

What expenses does a Minnesota child support order cover?

It is an unfortunate reality that some quarreling spouses may attempt to reduce the amount of child support they pay in order to take emotional advantage of their ex-spouse, even at the expense of their children. Fortunately, Minnesota law has specific guidelines that must be followed when determining a child support formula.

In Minnesota, a child of a divorced couple has the right to financial support from both parents. The parent who has been given physical custody of the child obviously provides a certain amount of monetary support. But, it is the financial support of the non-custodial parent that can be crucial for the proper physical and emotional development of the child. According to Minnesota law, there are three parts to the child support equation: basic support, child care support and medical support.

Minnesota residency requirements before seeking a divorce

Divorce can be a painful step for couples residing in any state, including Minnesota. That is because divorce is final and once the decree has been issued by a court of law, it cannot be undone. All of the emotional trauma that accompanies a divorce is made that much worse because it affects everyone in a family. From parents and children to extended family members and friends, the effects of a divorce are far reaching.

But sometimes a divorce can come about, not because of a change in one spouse's feelings, but because of a change in that person's circumstances. Sometimes one parent may be forced to follow his or her company to another state. Parental relocation is far too common in these tough economic times and the fact that one parent must move while the other refuses to move away from his or her friends and family can be quite traumatic to that family.However, it is possible to file for a divorce while living in another state. While the spouse who moved away can certainly return to the state where their partner and family live to get divorced, this would require an additional investment of financial resources that the spouse may not have. A far more frugal financial decision would be to file for the divorce in the state to which the spouse has just moved.

How prenuptial agreements are handled in Minnesota

Minnesota couples who choose to marry will frequently do so hoping for the best case scenario: that it will work out and they will stay together for the duration of their lives. That, however, is often not realistic. In some cases, one member of the union will have significant assets or property that he or she would like to protect in the event that the marriage doesn't work out and ends in divorce. To provide that protection, prenuptial agreements are crafted. In the state of Minnesota, these are also referred to as ante-nuptial contracts. The law has certain requirements for these and post-nuptial agreements. If there is an issue with the contract, the laws must be understood.

People who are of age are able to enter into a contract before the marriage to protect their possessions and lay out the rules of what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce. The agreement will be valid and can be enforced if: each persons' property is fully and fairly disclosed, and if the parties have had legal advice of their choosing before it is signed. The ante-nuptial agreement will list what the sides are entitled to if the marriage ends, the parties legally separate, or if it is terminated by the death of one or the other.

How do I pursue delinquent payments for child support in MN?

When a couple in Minnesota shares a child but is no longer together, it is possible that one will be ordered to pay child support to the other, known as the custodial parent. While most parents want to ensure that their children are cared for appropriately, and that the payments are made in a timely fashion and in their proper amount, there are times when a parent doesn't pay what he or she is supposed to. This can be for a variety of reasons. In this case, the custodial parent has options to pursue the delinquent payments.

If one of the parties involved makes the request, there can be a "6-month review hearing." This can be held at some point in the six months of the initial order for child support. This hearing is when the participants can meet with either a magistrate or a judge to ensure the order is being adhered to. If there is a dispute more than six months after the order, this is not an option. With the initial order for child support, there should be an attachment regarding a review hearing.

Can I deduct my alimony payments on my tax return?

Last week's post in this blog discussed the basics of alimony in Minnesota. This week we're going to take a look at an issue that will probably be on the minds of many divorced Minnesotans between now and April 15: how should I deal with alimony payments on my tax return?

In general, because alimony payments are taxable income for the recipient, they are deductible by the payor. However, certain requirements must be met for a payment to be considered deductible alimony. First, you cannot deduct a payment if you and your ex-spouse are filing a joint tax return. Payments will not be deductible if, at the time of the payment, you and your ex-spouse live in the same household, or if you have an obligation to continue the payments after the death of your ex-spouse. To be deductible, the payments must be made in cash or by check or money order.

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