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St. Paul Family Law Blog

Minnesota parents encouraged to know basics of child custody

We hear all the time that this parent has custody or that parent gets the kids this weekend. Despite the commonality of parenting time arrangements around the state, Minnesota parents often do not know the practicalities of child custody disputes until they are forced to confront them themselves.

For instance, child custody issues can arise in situations other than a divorce or parental separation. Paternity actions, domestic abuse allegations or juvenile proceedings may all call into question the current custody scenario.

Finding All Assets May Be Critical In Divorce Proceedings

Broken down, the basic laws governing property division in a divorce are simple. The assets are to be split equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. The devil, of course, is in the details. Even still, when all the assets are laid out on the table, property division is relatively straight forward. Spouses are either able to come to a mutually agreeable settlement via mediation or a judge will order the property to be split in a specific way.

In a surprisingly large number of divorce cases, however, including those in Minnesota, where assets are hidden or allegations of asset hiding are made. While this may seem salacious, it is not uncommon for spouses to keep assets separate even when things are running smoothly. When the relationship begins to falter, then, there is more incentive to find a soft landing zone for one's assets.

Minnesota's Judicial Branch helps those seeking divorce

Divorce is a word we hear almost every single day. Despite the commonality, however, many Minnesota residents do not understand simple concepts associated with a divorce. Instead, they are inundated with media that spins a distorted view of reality. Fortunately, Minnesota's judges are committed to helping residents understand what is required and involved in divorce proceedings.

On its website, Minnesota's courts have provided a list of divorce basics. Among them is a note that what is commonly referred to as divorce is more appropriately named a "dissolution of marriage" in Minnesota. Also, the courts inform inquiring minds that to get a dissolution of marriage in Minnesota, one of the spouses must be a resident for at least the past 180 days.

Minnesota's same-sex marriage law turns one

August 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the Minnesota law legalizing same-sex marriages. According to reports, Minnesota has issued approximately 3,885 marriage licenses to same-sex couples since the law was put into effect.

Despite the year long run of same-sex weddings, the political debate swirling around the new law is not over. Many pundits see voters in certain districts opposing candidates that took a stance on this issue that was contrary to the local base. Behind this public conversation over allowing same-sex couples to get married, though, many same-sex couples actually benefitted from the new law by getting a divorce.

Minnesota experts help individuals avoid divorce pitfalls

Divorce proceedings are often stereotyped as a money grab. From the outside looking in, bystanders justifiably characterize the process as an all-out fight for the biggest piece of the pie. The generalization, though, is something local St. Paul lawyers are aggressively seeking to change.

Unlike other types of litigation, divorce is not a finite event. Rather, it has a significant impact on the rest of your life. From long-term relationships with your children to accumulating assets for retirement, a divorce can materially affect some of life's most important issues.

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.

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