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St. Paul Family Law Blog

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

Setting up a visitation schedule that works for everyone

Divorce often presents new challenges for parents in Minnesota. One of those obstacles involves the visitation schedule. Many people contact Janet L. Goehle, Attorney at Law, unaware of the fact that they do have the option of working with the other parent to establish a visitation schedule that works in the best interests of everyone. When you are making this schedule, it is important that you and your ex-spouse consider each other’s needs and those of your children. Regardless of who receives legal or physical custody of the kids, the visitation rights of the noncustodial parent must be honored, unless the courts rule otherwise.

While you are negotiating with your former spouse, keep in mind that maintaining a visitation schedule is an adjustment for everyone. When you and the other parent are creating the schedule, try to be as detailed as possible to prevent potential difficulties and conflicts. There is no “one-size fits all” solution, states The Huffington Post.

How does equitable distribution affect me in a divorce?

You are getting a divorce but are concerned about how your marital property will be split. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, which means the courts will use certain rules to determine how to divide any property and assets that were acquired by you and your spouse during your marriage. To keep your divorce from dragging on, you may be able to negotiate a divorce settlement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. According to The Huffington Post, you may also be able to divide your assets privately if you previously entered into a postnuptial agreement with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

There are many factors that can affect how the courts will divide your assets. For example, if your soon-to-be ex-spouse is the higher-earning partner, the courts may not award you a lot of money or assets if your marriage did not last very long. If there are children involved, the courts may consider awarding a larger share of the marital assets to the parent who has sacrificed his or her career to stay home and raise them. They will also take into consideration your career and educational background, health and age. The courts will assess your post-divorce financial situation and how it impacts your ability to provide for yourself. These rules can have a significant impact on your financial future.

Can I get an annulment instead of a divorce?

Now that the wedding is over, you feel that marrying your spouse was a mistake and you find yourself asking - can I get an annulment instead of a divorce? While both are legal ways to end a marriage in Minnesota, the difference is that an annulment can legally erase your marriage so that it never occurred.

The annulment process is often so time-consuming and complicated that it has become less common for separating spouses to file for it, states website YourTango. Instead, many couples choose to dissolve their marriages by filing for no-fault divorces because they do not have to prove any wrongdoing. To successfully file for an annulment, your marriage must meet be substantiated by one of the following reasons:

  • You or your soon-to-be ex-spouse were married while one of you did not have sufficient mental capacity.
  • You or your ex-partner materially misrepresented his or herself or committed fraud to enter into the marriage.
  • You or your spouse must have never consummated or engaged in marital relations.

Preparing children for two homes

Divorce can be a very challenging time for children in Minnesota, especially when they have to start living in two homes. Parents can prepare their children for the transition to two separate residences by working together to improve their co-parenting skills.

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, parents should help their children to feel like they have some sort of control over their new living arrangements. Keep them involved in child custody concerns by sharing and discussing the situation with them. Ex-spouses should try to provide their children with as much information as possible while remaining open and honest about the situation. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the divorce and future living arrangements, both parents may need to rehearse what they are going to say to their children beforehand.

Co-parenting after divorce: it's almost back-to-school time

It is already midsummer and while it may be hard to imagine, it is not too early to start thinking about preparing for the kids heading back to school. It can be especially important for divorced parents to start the planning process early, particularly if there is a high level of family tension or if major decisions need to be made such as whether a son or daughter should change schools and how that might impact the child's primary residence.

Logistical matters can also arise like choosing new after-school and evening activities or child care programs as well as arranging for the pick-ups and drop-offs and who will provide the related transportation.

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