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How does a Minnesota court define the best interest of a child?

Many Minnesota residents these days have gone through a divorce. For some citizens it might not have been very upsetting, while for others the process may have been devastating, both emotionally and psychologically. But a lot of divorced individuals would agree that the most difficult aspect of the process was determining child custody. Minnesota courts, like most others in the nation, uses the term "best interests of the child" in order to determine which parent becomes the custodial parent and which one becomes the noncustodial parent. But what aspects of the individuals involved does the court examine in order to determine the child's best interests?

For a Minnesota court, determining the best interests of a child involves a stringent set of statutes that must be taken into account before a judgment can be rendered. These statues, specifically section 518.17 Custody And Support, consist of 13 specific areas. The first, and perhaps most important of these factors is the preference of the individuals involved in the divorce. That means that both parents have the opportunity to express their feelings about what parent the child should stay with. If the child is older and the court believes that he or she can logically state their preference, then the court may give consideration to the child's opinion.

What expenses does a Minnesota child support order cover?

It is an unfortunate reality that some quarreling spouses may attempt to reduce the amount of child support they pay in order to take emotional advantage of their ex-spouse, even at the expense of their children. Fortunately, Minnesota law has specific guidelines that must be followed when determining a child support formula.

In Minnesota, a child of a divorced couple has the right to financial support from both parents. The parent who has been given physical custody of the child obviously provides a certain amount of monetary support. But, it is the financial support of the non-custodial parent that can be crucial for the proper physical and emotional development of the child. According to Minnesota law, there are three parts to the child support equation: basic support, child care support and medical support.

Minnesota residency requirements before seeking a divorce

Divorce can be a painful step for couples residing in any state, including Minnesota. That is because divorce is final and once the decree has been issued by a court of law, it cannot be undone. All of the emotional trauma that accompanies a divorce is made that much worse because it affects everyone in a family. From parents and children to extended family members and friends, the effects of a divorce are far reaching.

But sometimes a divorce can come about, not because of a change in one spouse's feelings, but because of a change in that person's circumstances. Sometimes one parent may be forced to follow his or her company to another state. Parental relocation is far too common in these tough economic times and the fact that one parent must move while the other refuses to move away from his or her friends and family can be quite traumatic to that family.However, it is possible to file for a divorce while living in another state. While the spouse who moved away can certainly return to the state where their partner and family live to get divorced, this would require an additional investment of financial resources that the spouse may not have. A far more frugal financial decision would be to file for the divorce in the state to which the spouse has just moved.

How prenuptial agreements are handled in Minnesota

Minnesota couples who choose to marry will frequently do so hoping for the best case scenario: that it will work out and they will stay together for the duration of their lives. That, however, is often not realistic. In some cases, one member of the union will have significant assets or property that he or she would like to protect in the event that the marriage doesn't work out and ends in divorce. To provide that protection, prenuptial agreements are crafted. In the state of Minnesota, these are also referred to as ante-nuptial contracts. The law has certain requirements for these and post-nuptial agreements. If there is an issue with the contract, the laws must be understood.

People who are of age are able to enter into a contract before the marriage to protect their possessions and lay out the rules of what will happen if the marriage ends in divorce. The agreement will be valid and can be enforced if: each persons' property is fully and fairly disclosed, and if the parties have had legal advice of their choosing before it is signed. The ante-nuptial agreement will list what the sides are entitled to if the marriage ends, the parties legally separate, or if it is terminated by the death of one or the other.

How do I pursue delinquent payments for child support in MN?

When a couple in Minnesota shares a child but is no longer together, it is possible that one will be ordered to pay child support to the other, known as the custodial parent. While most parents want to ensure that their children are cared for appropriately, and that the payments are made in a timely fashion and in their proper amount, there are times when a parent doesn't pay what he or she is supposed to. This can be for a variety of reasons. In this case, the custodial parent has options to pursue the delinquent payments.

If one of the parties involved makes the request, there can be a "6-month review hearing." This can be held at some point in the six months of the initial order for child support. This hearing is when the participants can meet with either a magistrate or a judge to ensure the order is being adhered to. If there is a dispute more than six months after the order, this is not an option. With the initial order for child support, there should be an attachment regarding a review hearing.

Can I deduct my alimony payments on my tax return?

Last week's post in this blog discussed the basics of alimony in Minnesota. This week we're going to take a look at an issue that will probably be on the minds of many divorced Minnesotans between now and April 15: how should I deal with alimony payments on my tax return?

In general, because alimony payments are taxable income for the recipient, they are deductible by the payor. However, certain requirements must be met for a payment to be considered deductible alimony. First, you cannot deduct a payment if you and your ex-spouse are filing a joint tax return. Payments will not be deductible if, at the time of the payment, you and your ex-spouse live in the same household, or if you have an obligation to continue the payments after the death of your ex-spouse. To be deductible, the payments must be made in cash or by check or money order.

Understanding the basics of alimony

The stresses of going through a divorce can make anyone's head spin. There are many elements that must be considered be navigating and understanding them all can be difficult during such an emotionally stressful time. One such element that may be of concern is alimony, and understanding the basics can help formulate a strong plan of action moving forward.

At its core, alimony is meant to assist in the economic gap that may occur for one spouse due to loss of income stemming from the divorce. If a spouse decides to focus their energy on the family instead of a career, a divorce can sometimes be a crippling blow to their finances. Alimony helps in these situations, but unlike child support, there is no set formula or set of criteria for determining alimony amount.

Child Custody Lingering on the Minds of Many Minnesota Families

Life is full of stress. From paying the bills to getting to work on time, there is always some pressure baring down on us. Family, of course, is what makes it all worth it. The stress melts away when your kids are sharing their tales of the day.

For too many Minnesota families, however, have the added stress of child custody concerns that could eliminate this safe haven. Family lawyer Janet L. Goehle understands this pressure and wants nothing more than for you to recover your oasis.

Hollywood to examine child custody issues in new movie

While many of the blockbuster movies that come out of Hollywood these days feature bombastic action, sometimes studios delve into much more real and personal stories on the silver screen. People of all different backgrounds can relate to movies, especially if the movie touches on experiences people can relate to in their own personal lives. One such example for some, may be the upcoming movie featuring Kevin Costner, "Black or White."

While the race issues in the movie are obvious given the title of the film, the child custody aspects may also present some important lessons for parents living in the Minneapolis and St. Paul areas.

Putting a positive spin on divorce

So you are thinking about getting a divorce? Congratulations! The response is not typical but, if you ask many divorced Minnesotans, completely appropriate. Divorce has always had a certain stigma in our society. People apologize and ask how you are holding up. They worry about the kids and wonder how anyone can make it work after a divorce.

The reality, of course, is that you would not be getting a divorce if the status quo was working out. To fix the situation, a divorce may be necessary and is often the first step towards a better, happier life. Unfortunately, it is not a very easy step for many spouses to take.

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