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St. Paul Family Law Blog

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.

Resources available for parents with child custody questions

We all hope that we never have to deal with child custody or parenting time issues. The reality, however, is that many parents must confront those issues. Whether it be as the result of a divorce, separation or other family dynamic, making children a priority often results in legal proceedings to make sure they are properly cared for.

Parents with questions about the child custody process are not alone. Thousands of local Minnesota parents and professionals have been through the process too. Altruistically, these individuals have gathered information at the Minnesota State Law Library to help parents educate themselves on custody, parenting time, and support issues.

Son of Minnesota Vikings' part-owner in divorce proceedings

Divorce proceedings have been known to take on interesting narratives. As the emotions run high and spouses recognize the assets at stake, finger-pointing and story-telling can run rampant. A recent case involving the son of David Mandelbaum, a Vikings' co-owner, though, presented a novel storyline.

The scenario began when the wealthy Mandelbaum's wife of more than 20 years filed for divorce in New Jersey. Like Minnesota, New Jersey is an equitable division state, meaning marital assets must be divided in a fair and equitable fashion. Mandelbaum's argument, though, was that he was never married at all. According to him, the couple did not get their marriage license until a few days after the ceremony, a technical violation of New Jersey law. Since there was no marriage, Mandelbaum argued, there can be no divorce or equitable distribution of assets he claimed were his alone.

Minnesota students have child support and custody problems

This blog regularly focuses on the issues parents face in a divorce or separation. From child support to custody issues, parents can be put in a financial bind when a family issue arises. A recent report from U.S. News & World Report, however, sheds light on a small segment of parents with a unique set of concerns.

College students in Minnesota, as many know, are often cash strapped. This can be especially true for the minority of students that are also parents. As Susan Warfield, program director for the Student Parent HELP Center at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities explains, these individuals face financial concerns like day care that most other students are oblivious to. These burdens get even more pronounced when there is a custody issue.

Can a Minnesota parent change an existing child support order?

It's axiomatic that divorce carries with it a financial burden. Spouses go from sharing expenses on a single household to having support two households. The state of Minnesota's priority, however, is making sure the children in a divorce or separation are taken care of. As a result, these splits often involve child support order to ensure children do not get the short end of a stick.

These support agreements, like most resolutions achieved during a divorce, are difficult to change. This difficulty can be frustrating for those struggling with the increasing cost of living and/or other factors affecting a support arrangement which has not kept up with the times.

How much control does a parent have after a divorce in Minnesota?

Recently, Minnesota parents may have been abuzz with lively debates over the pros and cons of various parenting tactics in light of Vikings star Adrian Peterson's legal troubles related to whipping his son. This issue happens to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Attachment Parenting International, a group that actually supports certain levels of corporal punishment for children.

Aside from the punishment issues, local parents debate countless other issues, such as the extent of breast feeding, educational choices and how much time a kid should spend in front of a video screen. Given the myriad of choice that a parent can make, many wonder what type of authority they will have over such things after a divorce. The answer lies in the child custody and parenting agreement worked out between the parents and the court.

Minnesota avoiding same-sex marriage hurdles

As same-sex marriage laws change by the day, novel issues regarding same-sex divorce and same-sex child custody grow more and more prevalent. The truth is, anytime a law is changed or a new law is passed, there are unforeseen consequences that are not addressed. This is the case for hundreds of same-sex married couples seeking divorce in states, which do not recognize their marriage, unlike Minnesota.

Minnesota, though, recognized same-sex marriage, and has relaxed residency requirements. As a result, Minnesota will grant an uncontested divorce. It is a verifiable walk in the park, compared to other states still struggling with the ambiguities in their statutory code. While the issue of same-sex divorce may seem simple here in the land of 10,000 lakes, it carries the same pitfalls as a divorce between a man and a woman.

Child support not a short term requirement for Minnesota parents

A child has the right to be supported through the age of majority. This standard mantra, spelled out in Minnesota's statutory scheme, means that parents must produce the finances necessary to care for their children whether or not the parents are married. As a result, parents across the state are saddled with long-term child support obligations following a divorce.

Given the often onerous nature of this bill, it is not uncommon for a parent to stop paying after a short period of time. While enforcing that payment is generally straight forward, it is more difficult to modify or amend a support agreement which may be just as important. Such a step generally requires the help of an experience child support lawyer like Janet L. Goehle.

What are the extent of grandparents' rights in Minnesota?

This blog regularly focuses on issues concerning divorce and child custody as they relate to parents. Such issues, though, may be just as pressing for grandparents. Unfortunately, their rights are often suppressed by parents or other guardians who have direct access and control of the children. The question arises whether grandparents can do anything to enforce their rights.

The first step in answering this question is to determine the extent of those rights. In Minnesota, grandparents' rights are recognized but are subject to certain limitations. For instance, grandparents may seek visitation rights if a parent dies and they are the parents of that deceased parent. Grandparents may also petition for visitation after a divorce or other separation. Adoption, meanwhile, generally cuts off visitation rights unless the adoption is done within the family.

Minnesota court to train child custody mediators

The Blue Earth County District Court recently held a training session for individuals interested in becoming court appointed mediators. The participants in the training were expected to learn skills helpful in resolving parental disputes. These individuals are turned to when court intervention is not desirable or a court order is ambiguous.

For instance, enforcing a child custody order may be straight forward when it comes to school night versus weekends. Things may get less clear, however, during a holiday. While parental rights are determined by a Minnesota court, a mediator may be able to help parents resolve more minor issues like visitation rights on a specific day or night.

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