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St. Paul Family Law Blog

Book gets Minnesotans talking about divorce

French economist, Thomas Piketty, is receiving world-wide attention after publishing a book titled, "Capital in the Twenty-First Century." According to reports, the book posits that capitalism may grow out of fashion in the future. While the assertion is sure to ruffle feathers here in capitalistic America, his book does raise other issues, which have sparked a constructive conversation.

Like any book with such a topic, erasing inequality is touted as the ideal. One of the causes of inequality, many argue, is the steep rise in family fragmentation. While some assert that the rise in the divorce rate and, derivatively, kids growing up in broken homes has caused inequality. Others, like University of Minnesota professor, Ann Tyler May, suggest it may be the other way around.

Minnesota's Prospective Divorcees Advised on Temporary Orders

At this point, it is a cliché to say that the divorce process is stressful. Multiple factors play into this stress. One of the biggest, however, is financial uncertainty. After all, a prospective divorcee is going from two incomes and one home to one income and potentially supporting two homes. The long-term concerns, though, are sometimes dwarfed by the here and now.

When one files for divorce they may completely cut off the other spouse. From kicking them out of the house to moving assets and hoarding income, a spouse may be left in a precarious spot until a final settlement is reached. Fortunately, Minnesota residents have options to alleviate these concerns.

Minnesota child custody issues after child turns parents in

Last month, a 9-year-old girl walked into the police station in Barnesville, Minnesota, and calmly told police that her parents were growing marijuana in the crawl space of their house. According to the girl, the pot made her feel sick, and she was worried about its effect on the health of her dogs.

Police searched the home and found the plants, along with drug paraphernalia, exactly where the girl said it would be. The parents have since been charged with various crimes, while their daughter has been sent to live with her grandparents. Child custody of the nine-year old is now up in the air as she had previously been in protective services in North Dakota because of her parents' indiscretions.

Minnesota man puts gray divorce into context

The New York Times recently ran a story on the growing trend of so-called "gray divorces" between married couples aged 50 or older. According to recent studies, such divorces have doubled since 1990 and are expected to reach approximately 800,000 per year by 2030. The significance of a gray divorce was put into context in the article by following the experience of a 61-year-old Minnesota man.

The individual, closing in on retirement, suddenly found his assets being asked to serve double duty after his divorce. The past 30+ years had all been designed to provide for a shared retirement with his wife. Now that those shared assets must be divided to support two households, however, the individual was forced to admit that his financial belt was tightened.

Case highlights child custody concerns for Minnesota's servicemen

A U.S. Navy sailor currently serving in a submarine somewhere in the Pacific Ocean is missing a child custody dispute over his 6-year-old daughter. According to reports out of Michigan, the sailor received full custody of his daughter after a divorce with his first wife. He subsequently remarried and has been living with his daughter and new wife in Washington state for the last four years.

Despite this, his ex recently filed a child custody petition in Michigan. The local judge initially indicated that if the sailor did not report to her courtroom she would have no choice but to grant custody to the girl's mother and issue a bench warrant for the man's arrest. This sent the man's wife and daughter into a panic to prevent such drastic results. While the tale may seem unique, many parents in Minnesota also struggle with similar custody battles.

What happens when a state considers changing parental rights?

Minnesota will have a front row seat as their neighbor to the west, North Dakota, considers a new law aimed at giving any parent the right to equal custody. According to reports, state legislators in North Dakota have obtained enough signatures to ensure that the new law will be on the general ballot in November.

If approved, North Dakota parents could not be denied anything less than equal custody of their child. While this may seem standard for parental rights, it would actually mark a significant shift as the other parent would need to provide clear and convincing evidence that equal rights is not in the best interests of the child.

Child support a stressor for divorced families in Minnesota

A new study published recently reveals that children with divorced parents have higher levels of obesity. The results of the study are blamed on the stressors inherent in any divorce proceedings. For instance, custody battles, child support and property settlements are all things that stress out parents getting divorced.

This stress then trickles down to the kids. A local Minnesota judge, for instance, has pointed out the emotional toll a split has on kids and how that may affect their weight. The stress from a divorce can result in comfort eating or cravings for less healthy meals. In addition, kids going through a parental split may also receive less home-cooked meals and more processed foods, according to the study.

As divorces change, grandparents' rights center of many cases

This blog regularly focuses on parents going through divorce. During divorce, not only are an individual's financial welfare and rights to certain assets sometimes up in the air, but parents seeking a split must also go through the harrowing process of determining custody and visitation rights. Parents, though, are not the only stakeholders in a child's life.

While many recent Supreme Court cases around the country have made it clear that parents are the ultimate decision makers in their kids' lives, grandparents' rights also exist. Many local families in Minneapolis and St. Paul have likely experienced how vital grandparents can be to a child's development. Whether it be caring for them during a crisis in the parent's life, or simply spending quality time during holidays, grandparents can be instrumental in a young person's childhood.

Minnesotans ponder the proper time for a divorce

Studies out of the University of Minnesota are confirming that the divorce rate continues to climb. This uptick is especially dramatic among baby boomers. As this blog has contemplated numerous times, a so- called gray divorce can be difficult from a financial perspective.

When a couple starts to wind down their earning years and take stock of their retirement plans, it's not exactly an ideal time to split. The couple has fewer working years to make up for the costs associated with a divorce and a once airtight plan now has to transition to an entirely new set of circumstances. Nevertheless, divorces generally don't happen out of convenience.

Minnesota representatives join battle against divorce

Many social conservatives have been speaking out against gay marriage for years. While they seek to prevent same-sex couples from getting married, many in their ranks are also committing themselves to keeping opposite-sex couples married. Michelle Bachman of Minnesota, for instance, signed a pledge endorsing mandatory cooling off periods to limit quick divorces.

In addition, at least a dozen states across America have recently proposed legislation which would make it more difficult for a married couple to get a divorce. From limiting the reasons a couple could split to requiring counseling, there are many ideas being thrown out there as possible solutions to the high divorce rate.

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