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Minneapolis Family Law Blog

Consider legal counsel when addressing an adoption case

Adoption is a major moment in any parent's life, as well as the life of the adopted child. However, some people may not consider the legal proceedings that entail this loving moment. Adoption is, after all, the legal act of transferring the rights of a biological parent to the adoptive parent. As such, this is a very serious decision and one that should not be taken lightly.

Adoption can occur outside of the context of a divorce, but it certainly has its merits in the context of a divorce too. Sometimes an adoption occurs because the welfare of the child is at risk. Sometimes a grandparent or step-parent adopt a child due to extreme circumstances. Sometimes the adoption may take the child hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Every case is unique, and with adoption, that means the adoptive parents and/or the biological parents need sound legal advice.

On businesses and divorce: complex and valuable problems

Many people get married, and many of them eventually face the prospect of a divorce. For some couples, it may only take a few months before they realize that their marriage isn't right. For others, they may live many happy years together before irreconcilable differences make the marriage untenable. No matter the specifics of any particular divorce, our point here is this: there are many different people with many different feeling and responsibilities who may get a divorce.

Depending on the specifics, you should be prepared for certain steps to be taken during your divorce. If we could hone in on one specific set of circumstances for this post, let us consider the business owner.

March, August divorce spikes may have explanation

Have you heard of the "Cat of Sadness?" We're guessing your answer will be one of two responses: either "no" or "what in the world are you talking about?"

We promise the "Cat of Sadness" isn't some internet meme or joke. Instead, it is a comical term for a line graph of divorce rates by month. More specifically, it is the way some are calling a line graph of Washington state divorce rates by month from 2001 to 2015. The "Cat of Sadness" is depicted thanks to two peaks in divorce rates -- in March and August -- forming the cat's ears, and the remaining months filling out the silhouette of a cat's head.

Financial preparations necessary when divorce beckons

Finances will always play a huge role in any divorce. Even if you have a relatively simple life with few assets or pieces of property, there will still be a significant financial discussion that needs to be had during your divorce. In addition, once your divorce is finalized, you should be prepared for a big change in your lifestyle and the way you manage your finances.

Couples need to prepare themselves for three big parts to their financial lives once they decide it is time for a divorce. The first is debt. Even if the debt "isn't yours" from a subjective point of view, what matters is whether your name is attached to it. If your spouse bought a home, but your name is attached to the mortgage, then guess what? You are responsible for that debt. So put aside your grievances (so to speak) and pay down any joint debt that you and your spouse share as soon as possible.

Yay or nay: what to include (and what not to include) in a prenup

About a month ago, we wrote a post about prenuptial agreements. In that post, we outlined how prenuptial agreements aren't immune to legal challenges, despite claims and perceptions to the contrary. There are plenty of ways that the content of a prenuptial agreement could make it susceptible to a legal challenge, just as the amount of time and consideration the spouses have before signing the contract can impact it's legality and validity.

Today we're going to talk about prenuptial agreements in a more specific manner. Let's discuss the many things you can, and can't, include in a prenuptial agreement.

How alternative dispute resolution can help divorcing couples

One of the stereotypes of divorce is that the splitting spouses are screaming and yelling at each other in the courtroom. While divorce isn't exactly a happy time for the splitting spouses, filing for divorce doesn't mean that the two spouses are so angry and upset with each other that they are incapable of working out a fair and proper divorce agreement.

Reaching that point is quite serious, and it is best to go into divorce proceedings with a clear head and calm spirit. Sometimes the divorcing couple wants to avoid court proceedings because of the time, cost and stress associated with them. Instead, they use alternative dispute resolution and collaborative approaches to the divorce to help them craft a customized divorce agreement without the hassle and stress associated with court proceedings.

What forms of child custody exist?

There are actually two types of child custody that can be handed out to the parents in two different ways. The two main forms of child custody are physical custody and legal custody.

Physical custody deals with the residence of the child. If a parent has physical custody, it means that the parent has the right to have the child live with him or her. Legal custody, meanwhile, deals with the decision-making of a parent for their child. More clearly, this means that a parent with legal custody can make decisions on behalf of their child relating to where they go to school, what doctor they see, what religion they will practice, and other similar life circumstances.

Are prenuptial agreements immune to legal challenges?

Prenuptial agreements have a reputation, that's for sure. One of the myths about these contracts is that they are impregnable once signed. It is as if once you signed the contract, everything is etched in stone no matter how unfair or ill-advised the contract is. But, in fact, this is just a myth. There is no truth to the idea that prenuptial agreement are immune to legal challenges.

So how, then, could a spouse challenge the validity of their prenuptial agreement? There are many circumstances that can lead to such a challenge, and the first one we'll talk about is the overall "fairness" of the contract. There has to be "conscionability" when it comes to a prenuptial agreement. The contract can't be too unbalanced and favor one spouse too much. If it does, a judge could rule that the contract is "unconscionable," meaning that part of or all of the prenup could be struck down.

How property division works in the state of Minnesota

As an equitable distribution state, Minnesota enforces a division of assets that is "fair" given the circumstances of the marriage, and subsequent divorce, of two people. What is important to note about equitable distribution and the "fair" division of assets is that this doesn't mean that the assets will be divided equally. There is no guarantee that one spouse will get "50 percent" and the other spouse gets the other "50 percent." It could happen, but it is far more likely that the division of property will not be "equal." Instead, the division will adequately and fairly reflect the circumstances of the marriage and divorce.

Given this type of property division, it is very important for couples who are going through a divorce to be prepared to negotiate and talk about property division before their case gets to court. This is because a judge may not rule in a way that either spouse anticipates, leaving them with less than what they wanted in terms of property and assets.

Is (blank) covered by child support? Probably!

You could fill in the blank in the title with just about any financial factor, and it would probably be covered by child support payments. And yet, there are many people out there who presume that child support is a very limited and select form of financial support that can only be utilized for specific costs that are related to a child. However, child support can be used for a variety of financial purposes.

If it relates to the raising of a child, then your child support payments can be used to paying for the financials costs. Let's begin with the basics. So food, shelter, clothes, medical care -- all of these things can be paid for by child support payments that you either send to or receive from your spouse.

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