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St. Paul Family Law Blog

What is considered marital property in a Minnesota divorce?

When a Minnesota couple gets divorced, they must divide up all the property they have accumulated during their marriage. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, which means that a judge will look at all of the couple's marital property and then try to divide it on an equitable basis. Equitable means what is fair and just under the circumstances, not necessarily an equal split. But how does Minnesota law define marital property for purposes of divorce?

Marital property generally refers to all property either spouse acquired during the marriage, except property acquired by gift or inheritance. It is distinguished from separate property, which is any property a spouse owned before the couple married, or any property acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance. Separate property is not divided by the court; it remains the separate property of the spouse who owns it.

Comedian and wife set to fight over couple's sizeable assets

Minnesota couples who've been through a divorce know it can be an emotionally draining process. If the two spouses cannot get together and iron out their differences regarding alimony, child support and dividing up their assets, then it's likely the divorce will be a long drawn-out procedure. For one famous comedian, it looks like his divorce will not be a quiet one, at least when it comes to dividing up assets.

Chris Rock, known for his acerbic and profane observations on relationships, now finds himself going through a divorce that may end up costing him a considerable portion of his earnings. In papers filed in court, Malaak Compton-Rock, his wife, is seeking to acquire a sizable portion of the couple's estimated $70 million wealth. Compton-Rock donates a large amount of her time to charitable work.

Types of spousal support in Minnesota

One of the major issues that must be decided during a divorce is spousal support. Setting the proper amount of spousal support is very important to both spouses. For the spouse who needs the support, it can help maintain the lifestyle that he or she had during their marriage and also make it possible to acquire the necessary job skills to become self sufficient. Spousal support is important to the spouse that must pay it because the amount should not be so exorbitant that it financially cripples the paying spouse.

The state of Minnesota recognizes two types of spousal support during a divorce proceeding. The first type is temporary spousal support, which is designed to last only for a limited period of time that is determined by the court. Temporary support is often awarded in order to help a spouse acquire the education and training necessary to re-enter the workforce and become self-sufficient. Permanent spousal support may be essential for a spouse who is older or in poor physical or emotional health, and unlikely to be able to achieve complete financial dependence.

What factors help determine grandparents' rights in Minnesota?

Many Minnesota grandparents share a special bond with their grandchildren. They treasure their relationship and see in these children all the possibilities that life can offer. But what happens if the child's parents become unfit to raise their own children or simply refuse to let their own parents see their grandchildren? Is it possible for Minnesota grandparents to secure visitation rights with their grandchildren?

Minnesota grandparents can indeed seek visitation rights for their grandchildren, if one or both parents of the child have died, or if the parents of their grandchild get divorced or separated, get an annulment or are involved in a proceeding to determine parentage. There is also another way that a Minnesota grandparent can file for visitation rights with their grandchild. That is if the child previously lived with the grandparent for at least one year and was taken from the grandparent's home by the parent.

Methods that can help kids cope with their parents' divorce

It is often said that the real victims in a divorce are the children. A divorce can pull the support structure right out from under a vulnerable child. But there are methods Minnesota parents can use to help children deal with divorce.

A divorced parent should always tell their child the truth. This includes being honest about their own feelings regarding the divorce. It's quite possible a child will have strong feelings about their parent's separation and hearing similar feelings from at least one of their parents will make them realize that what they are feeling is OK. It is also important to be honest with a child and tell them if the divorce has caused changes to the family's financial situation.A parent should refrain from bad-mouthing their ex-spouse in front of the child. Vilifying the other parent can confuse a child because he or she knows they are an integral part of each parent's life. Bad-mouthing by a parent can cause a child to believe those feelings are really being directed at the child.

Does Minnesota allow for the temporary care of a child?

Minnesota allows parents who are unable to care for their children for a period of time to designate another family member or trusted friend to care for the child. This can be done by using a Delegation of Powers document. This document will allow a caregiver selected by the parent or guardian to make all the necessary decisions in the best interest of the child for a defined period of time. And while the Delegation of Powers gives that caregiver the authority to make decisions for the child, it does not give them legal custody of the child.

A Delegation of Powers document gives some important powers to the caregiver. These include providing proper medical care, sending the child to school and providing a home and proper home care. The document does not, however, give the caregiver the right to put the child up for adoption or consent to the child's marriage.

Using Early Neutral Evaluation during a Minnesota divorce

Minnesota residents know that divorce can turn into a traumatic and painful experience. If both parties are unwilling to compromise, the process can become drawn out and arduous. However, a number of Minnesota counties, including Hennepin and Ramsey, have a process that can help divorcing couples reach an agreement on most divorce issues.

The Early Neutral Evaluation process is used by courts in many counties to help resolve issues that divorcing parties have been unable to agree on. It is not a formal court procedure, but a voluntary process that both parties and their attorneys must agree to participate in. There are circumstances in which an individual may not wish to participate in ENE, including if one party is fearful of the other; if one party has been abusing the other; if only one party has a lawyer; or if one party believes that the other will not act honestly during the process.

Valuable tips that can bring peace of mind during a divorce

Many St. Paul, Minnesota residents consider divorce a battlefield. Just like a general strategically positioning their army, some spouses and their attorneys preach a scorched earth policy and attempt to win every aspect of a divorce trial. From alimony to child custody and child support, these people are not satisfied unless they win on every issue. However, they often fail to see what the damaging effects of this approach can be on their children, their ex-spouse and their extended family. But, there are those who believe that a peaceful approach to a divorce can yield surprising benefits and bring peace of mind as well.One of the first tips in this strategy is to always fight fair during the divorce process. This means that divorcing spouses shouldn't argue and fight in front of their children. This also means not throwing up past hurts at an ex-spouse in order to score points. Another example of fighting fair is talking about sensitive topics when the children are not present.

Another tip is to always place the well being of the children ahead of personal needs or desires. So, when important issues such as child custody come up, it very important to place the child's needs ahead of the parent's needs. This might mean that one parent may not have as much parenting time as the other, but if this situation helps the child, then it should probably be adopted.

Criminal prosecution for not paying child support in Minnesota

Many people in Minneapolis, Minnesota, have probably read stories about parents who have failed to pay child support for their children after they were divorced. In some cases, these people owe years of child support, yet they still continue to shun their responsibilities. Somehow, they have also managed to avoid being prosecuted for their delinquent payments. Child support is critically important for children of divorced parents in Minnesota, and every parent who has been ordered to pay child support must fulfill their obligation. If a non-custodial parent continues to abuse the system and not pay their required support, Minnesota's Child Support Office can refer the case to the U.S. Attorney's Office for federal criminal prosecution.

The Child Support Office in Minnesota will turn over a child support case to the U.S. Attorney's Office if the non-custodial parent who owes the support knows about their responsibilities and has had the capacity to make payments and deliberately fails to pay what they owe. They will also turn over any case after they have exercised all of their legal options, including holding the non-paying parent in contempt of court.The U.S. Attorney's Office places a high priority on prosecuting child support cases that meet specific criteria. These include prosecuting those non-custodial parents who have been found in contempt of court and owe at least $50,000 in child support payments. Additional criteria are prosecuting those non-custodial parents who move from one state to another in order to avoid their responsibilities and those who fail to pay support when they have at least one minor child. Of course, there are exceptions to every situation and the Minnesota Child Support Office will not refer a non-payment case to the U.S. Attorney's Office if the case meets some specific requirements. These include a court order that prohibits the U.S. Attorney's Office from any federal criminal prosecution against the non-paying parent and if the parent has gone into bankruptcy protection and is still covered by that order.

Can Minnesota seize assets for non-payment of child support?

It takes quite a lot of effort to raise a happy, healthy child after a couple gets divorced. Whether that child is growing up in Ramsey County, Minnesota, or elsewhere, the child needs love, attention, discipline and a ton of support. This includes financial assistance, and that money usually comes in the form of child support from a non-custodial parent. The amount of support is determined by a Minnesota court before a divorce is finalized. But, what happens when a non-custodial parent refuses to honor the financial obligation? Is there any way for a state to force a parent to pay their child support?

Simply put, the answer is yes. The state of Minnesota's Child Support Office can use a tool that is known as financial institution data matching to find and seize the assets of non-custodial parents who are behind on their child support payments. However, before the state proceeds with such an extreme measure, a delinquent parent must meet certain criteria, including owing at least five times the amount of monthly child support and not obeying a court-approved written payment plan.

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