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St. Paul Family Law Blog

Putting a positive spin on divorce

So you are thinking about getting a divorce? Congratulations! The response is not typical but, if you ask many divorced Minnesotans, completely appropriate. Divorce has always had a certain stigma in our society. People apologize and ask how you are holding up. They worry about the kids and wonder how anyone can make it work after a divorce.

The reality, of course, is that you would not be getting a divorce if the status quo was working out. To fix the situation, a divorce may be necessary and is often the first step towards a better, happier life. Unfortunately, it is not a very easy step for many spouses to take.

Why would anyone refuse nearly $1 billion in a divorce?

Media outlets all over the world are having a field day reporting on a divorcee who refused to accept a $975 Million check from her ex-husband as a settlement of their divorce. While many local St. Paul residents who have gone through divorce proceedings would have gladly accepted the money to put the turmoil to bed, there is one critical reason for her to initially reject it. It was not enough.

The women refusing the money is married to an Oklahoma oil magnate allegedly worth billions of dollars. As a result, she believes she is entitled to additional funds, and is engaged in an appeal to do just that. While viewed by many as greedy, divorce resolutions are complex animals that should never be resolved in haste.

Celebrity couple finalize divorce, one year after separation

Celebrity couples get divorced nearly every day. It's not really news. They have different lifestyles and different problems than the average Minnesotan. Nevertheless, sometimes a celebrity divorce has lessons which carry over to the Twin Cities.

Take Taye Diggs and now ex-wife Idina Menzel for instance. Broadway actors Diggs and Menzel announced their split over a year ago but little news trickled out between then and now. It has been discovered, however, that the two have finalized their divorce after a year of hammering out the details.

What are the elements of a child custody decision?

There are many aspects of a divorce that make it a stressful time for all involved. However, when children enter the picture, especially if the matter of custody is involved, the situation can become even more stressful. Parents may find themselves wondering what exactly is figured into the equation when a child custody decision. There are actually several things that are considered.

The decision of child custody can be in the hands of several different individuals depending on the process of the divorce. If parents are settling the matter outside of court, the decision is largely up to the parents in question. This process can also be helped along with the assistance of attorneys, mediators or counselors. If a decision is not reached or if the divorce does go to court, the process becomes different.

Child support available to custodial parents

Minnesota's statutory scheme in family law is built around the mandate to do what is in the best interest of the children. As a result, the laws set forth a detailed regulatory framework that describes how the payment of child support is to be administered. These monthly payments are intended to help a custodial parent pay for the day-to-day expenses of raising a child.

Nevertheless, the laws are often ignored or misapplied. For instance, a separated couple that never legally divorced may never acquire a support order, allowing one partner's obligations to fall through the cracks. In other instances, a divorced couple may settle upon a support amount that seeks to only see the supported ex significantly improve their financial condition years down the road.

Bill aimed at protecting child custody rights of troops approved

Minnesota residents may be interested in the story of a congressman who has been on a mission to return our servicemen and women to equal footing in child custody cases. The new defense bill includes language that may do just that. The law was motivated by cases like those of one servicewoman who returned from deployment to learn she had lost custody of her child, in part, because she was "absent" while serving her country.

This led to a nearly eight-year battle by the woman and representative Mike Turner from Ohio to eliminate the potential for state courts to use military service against a parent. In other words, the new law will preserve any pre-deployment child custody arrangement ensuring these types of cases do not happen again. This bill was introduced as part of the 2014 defense authorization measure that Congress recently passed.

St. Paul grandparents have rights too

This blog regularly focuses on the issues Minnesota parents face when divorcing or separating from their spouse. St. Paul family law attorney Janet L. Goehle, though, also strives to provide superior representation to local grandparents in the St. Paul area.

A grandparent can have a dynamic and lasting impact on a young person's life, especially if unfit parents or other factors limit the positive influences they get at home. The law recognizes this reality and provides avenues for grandparent visitation and, in some cases, custody rights for grandparents.

Minnesota professor debunking divorce myths

As it turns out, experts across the country are working to change staunch public belief that divorce rates are high and getting higher. While this past century did see an unprecedented rise in divorces, especially in the 70s and 80s, the last couple of decades have not been so divorce heavy. In fact, if current trends continue, economists believe that only a third of marriages will end in a divorce, including those in Minnesota.

This change is significant for a community which often cites divorce as a big part of our social ills. Nonetheless, other experts have dug deeper into the numbers to see what is actually going on. For instance, a Minnesota marriage therapist and professor notes that two-thirds of divorces are initiated by women. Therefore, she believes the change in divorce rates is actually a change in women's expectations.

How do you tell your friends you are getting divorced?

Despite the well-known figures that nearly half of all marriage end in divorce, the dissolution of a marriage still carries a stigma for some in modern society. As a result, many divorcees in Minnesota struggle with how to address the issue with their friends and family.

While there is no easy way to break the news, it's helpful if you are able to put a positive spin on the divorce. From gaining a fresh start, to eliminating a destructive and toxic relationship, there are things to be gained from a divorce. Focusing on these positives will allow those conversations with friends and family to run more smoothly.

Your inheritance may be at risk if you get a divorce

We all know that divorces can get messy. From child custody to retirement accounts, there are all sorts of things that can get contentious in negotiating a divorce settlement. One of the biggest sticking points in a divorce, though, can be the disposition of inherited assets. From a parent's vacation home to a grandmother's antique diamond ring, generally all assets in a divorce must be split equitably. As a result, that family property could become your ex's.

The best way to avoid such a scenario is to negotiate a prenup. If there are important family assets that you currently own, or expect to own at some point in the future, it is wise to set forth an agreement with your spouse with regard to that particular asset. The problem, though, is many of us do not think that far ahead. Owning Grandpa's hunting cabin decades from now is not usually a huge concern in the months before a marriage. In the absence of a prenuptial agreement, then, divorcing spouses are left to defend their rights to inherited property with little ammunition.

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