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Minneapolis Family Law Blog

Can pregnancy be confined to a business contract?

Pregnancy is not an experience that is easily relegated to the confines of a business contract. Nevertheless, that is exactly what the legalization of commercial surrogacy would strive to do. A proposed change to Minnesota law that would allow for business contracts between would-be parents and surrogate mothers could turn pregnancy into a for-profit business activity.

The topic of commercial surrogacy is extremely controversial. On the one hand, it could provide a means for parents who can't have children to have a child quickly by locating a woman they can pay to carry their baby. On the other hand, the fact remains that the act of holding a child in one's womb creates the most intimate bond between the surrogate mother and the child -- even if the baby doesn't have the mother's actual DNA.

Same-sex marriage brings a surprising drop in teen suicide

A drop in teen suicide attempts occurred following the U.S. Supreme Court's legalization of same-sex marriage. The decrease in suicide attempts was the largest among lesbian, bisexual and gay teenagers. Similar drops in suicide attempts were previously seen in states that preemptively legalized gay marriage in advance of the Supreme Court's ruling.

Researchers are not certain that there is a connection between the drop in suicide attempts and the legalization of same-sex marriage, but they feel that policymakers should consider the large-scale benefit that legal changes may have on the mental health of our nation's youth.

Representing Minnesota residents in their child custody disputes

Our children are the most precious possessions we have. They bring us joy, the give us love, and our relationship and unbreakable bond with them extend beyond words. That's why, when we realize that a Minnesota court truly has the power to break our bonds with our children, it can be frightening.

Child custody disputes between two parents can escalate into expensive, time-consuming court battles that seem like they'll never come to an end -- that is, if one or both of the parents are not willing to work toward a mutually agreed-upon child custody settlement. At Berg Debele Desmidt & Rabuse, we know how delicate the issues surrounding child custody can be, so we take a diplomatic and conciliatory approach toward conflict resolution in child custody matters.

Learning about your young adopted child

Minnesota parents who decide to adopt a young child into their homes will have a lot of emotions flooding through them. They will also need to organize a lot of the legal aspects of the adoption, which they can carry out with the assistance of a lawyer. All this activity might interfere with the new parents getting to know their child in the best way. To prevent that, here's some advice on learning about your child.

When your child isn't a newborn baby, adoptive parents need to keep in mind that he or she had routines, likes and dislikes and so on before you came along. It's important for new adoptive parents to discuss with orphanage directors and foster parents, or their child's birth parents, what the boy or girl's life was like previously. Meeting these individuals in person is an excellent way to connect with your new child and learn more about him or her.

How do I prevent loneliness after my divorce?

If you're going through a divorce after the age of 50, you might be worried about feeling lonely as you grow older. You might find a new partner to grow old with, but fears of loneliness in the meantime are a valid concern. Nevertheless, many Minnesotans are overcoming their fears of loneliness with some excellent strategies.

Social isolation is a serious threat to human health. In fact, the president of AARP says that social isolation is as dangerous as smoking 15 packs of cigarettes per day. Researchers have discovered that social isolation can lead to difficulty sleeping, heart disease, dementia, diminished immunity, high blood pressure and a higher likelihood of dying. Meanwhile, individuals who have enough social contact will exhibit a 50 percent higher chance of survival. Lack of social contact can also lead to an increased chance of suicide. Nevertheless, when Minnesota residents move into midlife and older, events like widowhood, divorce, children growing up and moving away, deaths of friends, driving restrictions, hearing loss, mobility loss and other health issues can trigger loneliness. In Minnesota, over 250,000 people aged 60 and up live by themselves.

Assisted reproductive technology in Minnesota

Numerous would-be Minnesota mothers want to have babies but are unable to do so. Some of these mothers have loving husbands who are also eager to have a baby of their own. Fortunately, the modern era of assisted reproductive technology services is making it possible for mothers -- would otherwise not be able to have a baby of their own -- have children that are theirs biologically as well as their husbands.

In some cases, another woman will be a traditional surrogate and have a baby after being artificially inseminated by the male partner of the woman who can't have a child. In other cases, a woman will be a gestational carrier and have the fertilized egg of a woman and her partner implanted in her womb.

Minnesota organization educates citizens about adoption

A Minnesota-based group is trying to spread good information about child adoption in order to dispel common myths about the process. The organization, known as Bellis, wants adoption in the spotlight. One of its sponsored projects includes the "Orphan Train" musical, which was recently performed at St. Paul's History Theatre.

There are currently over 100 children waiting for adoption in Hennepin County. In other areas of Minnesota, there are even more children who need homes. Bellis is trying to help this situation by dispelling stereotypes and misperceptions about the adoption process by educating young people and offering community-centered programs. The non-profit group also provides support to mothers who have adopted children. The group doesn't have any religious or political affiliation.

Stay financially afloat following your divorce

Some Minnesota residents view alimony and child support as if it were a negative. They say that alimony recipients should be responsible for their own income and it's unfair to the spouse who pays. Some might even complain that child support payments are too high, and noncustodial parents shouldn't be on the hook to pay so much money each month for the support of their children.

These complaints usually come from the ones who pay child support and not from the ones who desperately need it. In fact, the reasons for alimony and child support laws are clear, and they're very important for human rights and modern society in general.

Can I adopt my stepchild?

If you're a stepparent hoping to adopt your stepchild, rest assured that it is indeed possible and it's relatively common in Minnesota. Legal steps must be taken, and sometimes legal hurdles must be overcome -- particularly if the biological parent does not agree with the adoption. However, a stepparent adoption is considerably less difficult than other types of adoption when all parties are in agreement that the adoption process may move forward.

Because stepparent adoption usually involves a situation where the child has already been living with the stepparent for some time, the process will generally happen faster than other forms of adoption. This is because the court will not require a "trial period" in which the potential adoptive child temporarily stays with the soon-to-be parents to ensure that it's a good match. Ultimately, the most important element in the stepparent adoption process is getting the other parent's permission.

Newborn baby found at Cathedral of St. Paul

Someone left a newborn baby on the steps of the Cathedral of St. Paul on Jan. 4. The baby is currently healthy and child services officials are taking care of it. A custodian for the church found the baby at around 6 p.m., in a plastic laundry basket in between the interior and exterior doorways of the main church where night mass had just been held.

A priest for the church and the custodian took care of the baby boy until authorities arrived to help. The priest said that he baptized the child while waiting for an ambulance and police to show up. During the christening, he named the boy Nathan John.

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  • AAAA - American Academy of Adoption Attorneys
  • AAARTA - Fellow of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys
  • American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers AAML
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