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St. Paul Family Law Blog

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.

How can I prepare emotionally for a divorce?

For some soon-to-be-ex-spouses in Minnesota, the divorce process is a long and lengthy one that is filled with emotional turmoil and conflict. It can be difficult to navigate without proper preparation. Even if you and your spouse are in agreement about your separation, various issues regarding your children, property and finances can prevent you from being emotionally stable during your divorce. According to Psychology Today, there are measures you can take to prepare yourself emotionally for this type of situation.

Divorce can have a significant impact on your finances which can increase the number of negative feelings you may have towards your soon-to-be ex-spouse and life in general. To overcome them, you need to discover new financial resources that you can use to increase the amount of financial opportunities that are available to you. Put aside your hurt feelings so you can focus on becoming more organized to make changes to improve your situation.

Summer's almost over. Time for a divorce?

Though there aren't official statistics evidencing the trend, family lawyers across the country report a bump in divorce filings each year when the kids finally head back to school after summer vacation.

There is no single definite cause as to why end-of-summer could be a prime time for divorce, but there are several possibilities as to an uptick in filings then.

Illness linked to divorce among older couples

Many older couples in Minnesota are no longer honoring their vows once illness strikes. According to Tech Times, there is a link between older married couples, illness and divorce. In a study involving 2,717 older people, at least 75 percent of the marriages were impacted by the onset of chronic disease and serious health complications, such as stroke, cancer, lung disease and heart disease.

This study monitored the health of the participants and their marriages for a period of 20 years. During that time, it was noted that when the wives became ill, divorce was more likely to occur. The costs of health care and the severity of health conditions often resulted in women needing more care than their male counterparts were willing to give.

When can a prenuptial agreement become void?

It is not uncommon for couples in Minnesota to believe that prenuptial agreements are written in stone and unbreakable. However, there are certain circumstances that can nullify a prenuptial agreement. According to Forbes, couples who are considering signing or creating prenuptial agreements should seek out expert advice before doing so to protect their future best interests.

A prenuptial agreement must be written in the right format and constructed so that it does not benefit one party way more than the other. Witnesses, such as a court official or notary must be present to observe the proper execution of the agreement. Full disclosure about all risks and assets must be given and the contract cannot be signed or executed immediately before the date of the ceremony. Prenuptial agreements that are entered into verbally or through coercion are not legally binding

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