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St. Paul Family Law Blog

Moving out of the marital home

One aspect that some couples in Minnesota fail to completely consider during the beginning stages of their divorce is moving out of the marital home. Both parties may have a lot invested into the property and have valid reasons for wanting to remain put. However, doing so could create some complications in the near future. To avoid having the courts make an undesirable decision about who gets to remain in the home, ex-spouses should work towards resolving the matter themselves.

Divorcing couples should sit down together to discuss their options. They may want to do this with a mediator or counselor present so they can meet their objectives amicably. They should have a clear idea of their post-divorce situation and how it pertains to the house and finances. Other important points of discussion should include whether or not the property will be owned jointly, the exclusivity of its use and boundaries and the right to ownership of appliances, furniture and possessions, states Forbes. Neither party should make assumptions about their living situation.

Divorce and mortgages

Deciding who gets what in a divorce in Minnesota can be tough, especially if the split is not an amicable one. A mortgage is often one of the biggest assets a couple has together. There are some measures that can be taken to keep the situation from becoming messy. According to Time, Inc., divorcing couples should try to resolve their mortgage concerns before their split is final. Any decisions that are made should be done with all emotions and personal feelings set aside. Both parties should not have any expectations and they should be prepared to sell or refinance the mortgage if necessary.

If their home’s market value is down and both parties can reach an agreement without any issues, it may be more beneficial for them to continue to live together. Once the market value of the property improves, they can then decide what to do with the mortgage.

Divorce and college funds

One topic that often comes up during divorce in Minnesota is college funds. Since the situation involves the redistribution of marital assets, property and even child custody, careful consideration must be given to what happens to any savings and funds parents have set aside for their children’s future education.

According to Forbes, divorcing couples should discuss their children’s financial college accounts with a professional advisor who can offer them guidance on their options. Former spouses should work out an agreement that specifies how the money is to be saved and used. Careful consideration should be given as to which parent has access to the accounts as well.

Is co-parenting the right decision for your family?

If you have kids and are going through a divorce in Minnesota, one issue that should take priority is parenting. You may be wondering if co-parenting is the right decision for your family. Although it will take a concentrated effort from you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse to make the transition from a two parent household to one easier for your children, it can be done.

In order for you to better determine if co-parenting is a good idea, you need to have a thorough understanding of what it is and what is expected. According to Psychology Today, co-parenting is an arrangement that helps to establish a safe environment for your kids to reduce the emotional and social effects of divorce on them. You should seek out support from family, friends and professional sources, such as professional counselors and mediators.

Divorce without an attorney is not necessarily faster or smarter

It is understandable that once a decision is made to divorce, some people want the process to go as fast as possible so to move on with life. However, as the Minnesota Judicial Branch website reports, divorce in Minnesota is "a lot more complicated than getting married," sometimes taking several months to complete.

One misconception is that trying to go through the Minnesota process of divorce without an attorney will be quicker. For one thing, Minnesota law has specific court pleadings and other official documents that must be drafted, filed and served on the other spouse. These procedural requirements normally have required deadlines for taking action.

The importance of prenuptial agreements

Before couples in Minnesota say “I Do,” they should take some time to plan out their prenuptial agreement. No one really likes to think about separations and divorce when they are in the process of getting married and making decisions about how they will spend the rest of their lives with their significant others. However, doing so can offer them some protection from the ravaging consequences of divorce should they separate from their soon-to-be spouse and things get ugly.

According to Business Insider, couples should want to know how their partners will act if their marriage were to end. Learning what are deal breakers and what things they have in common can help to shed some light on their partners’ personalities and potential actions. It is much harder for couples to make sound decisions regarding financial matters when they harbor negative feelings about each other and are in the process of splitting up and turning any assets or advantages they have into power struggles. Although a prenuptial contract may be amended with a postnuptial agreement, couples should keep in mind that any agreements that are entered into with a prenuptial agreement are legally binding.

Learning effective listening skills

Many families in Minnesota going through divorce process notice that the lines of communication between them and their children are faint or no longer exist. Parents who seek to minimize the effects of their divorce situation on their kids should start by learning effective listening skills. According to GoodTherapy.org, parents should stop talking so they can hear what is actually being said. This can enable them to become better and more effective communicators with their children and themselves.

Former spouses who want to improve their listening skills for their children should learn to exercise empathy. It can be hard for parents to understand their kids feelings if they cannot understand where they are coming from, states Forbes. For example, if the children are sad about something, parents should try to feel sad about the situation to so they can see things from their kids' perspective.

Explaining divorce to children

For many parents who are going through a divorce in Minnesota, nothing seems harder than having to explain the situation to their kids. No matter how young or old they are, their children may not have a good understating of how mommy and daddy’s separation really affects them. According to HealthyChildren.org, it is important for parents to show their children that even though they will live in separate homes, both mom and dad will still be there for them.

Children tend to put the blame of the situation on their shoulders and may act out in an effort to get attention and keep their parents together. Both parents should inform their kids that the situation is not something that can be fixed by children. They should explain to their kids that their separation is what they have agreed to because it works best for them. They should also tell their children that the separation is not their fault.

How to recognize the signs of parental alienation?

Parents who are in the midst of divorce in Minnesota should watch their children for signs of parental alienation. This form of abuse can occur when one parent exerts influence over their kids in an effort to control their actions and feelings towards their other parent. According to Cooperative Parenting, the relationship between the parent who is being victimized can be interrupted and destroyed by the actions of the parent who is acting as the abuser. As a result, the whole family suffers from the impact of the situation when the kids are completely alienated from their innocent parent.

Often times, the goal of the alienator is to get their kids to completely reject their other parent, which serves as a form of humiliation and keeps them from having a happy, healthy and loving relationship with their kids, states Prental-Alienation.info. It is crucial for parents to be able to recognize the signs of parental alienation so they can fight back to prevent it. Common signs of this situation include:

  • Always feeling and acting tense, angry and hostile towards the innocent parent. Children may resort to using negative and controlling behavior and language towards the innocent parent in an effort to estrange them.
  • Kids acting ambivalent towards their other parent. They are not able to remember or describe anything good or bad about them.
  • Kids exhibiting the actions and adapting the language of the alienating parent and using them against the other parent.

Divorce and parental alienation

In Minnesota, it is not uncommon for an ex-spouse to try and influence their children’s actions during a divorce. According to Psych Central, this type of behavior is known as parental alienation and it involves a former partner manipulating their children’s feelings and behaviors toward the other parent.

Parents who suspect that their soon-to-be ex-spouse is using this type of tactic to influence their children’s love and affection should seek out professional counseling. It can be challenging to overcome this type of situation without the right guidance. The person who is causing the alienation is psychologically encouraging their kids to treat the innocent parent like they are weak and unimportant.

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