Jan
25

How Technology Helps and Hinders Co-Parenting

Parents today are learning how technology can provide a wealth of information about their child while outside of their sight.  Many electronic tools are extremely accessible, such as text and video messages sent instantly over cell phones, FaceTime, social media posts, and even video baby monitors that can be accessed from another room or through an app.  Some tools are more surreptitious, including tracking devices, remote location monitoring, Google glasses, recording “undercover” videos, or even turning on speaker phone when a child is talking to the other parent.  A client who...

Oct
6

Adoptions: Frequently Asked Questions

We frequently receive inquires and questions about adoptions at Wilson Law Group. An adoption is when a person or persons legally create a parent-child relationship when there is no parent-child biological relationship. By law, an adopted child has the same rights to inherit, receive social security benefits, and the same protections as biological children.  Though each family is different, here are some of the common questions we receive about adoptions:

Can my current spouse or partner adopt my child?

This is a typical scenario that we see at Wilson Law Group. Fortunately,...

Jun
18

Minnesota Child Support and Parenting Time: No Guarantees

A common question is: “Since I’m paying child support, I’m automatically entitled to parenting time with my kids, right?” The frustrating answer for many parents is: no; simply paying child support does not automatically grant a parent the right to parenting time with his or her children.

Under Minnesota law, when a child is born to an unmarried mother, the mother automatically has full legal and physical custody of the child. Minn. Stat. § 257.54. Even if the father signs a Recognition of Parentage and is on the birth certificate, this does not grant the father any rights to...

Jun
18

Where's Mommy - Planning to Help Children When a Parent Is Unavailable

All parents panic at the thought of an emergency that separates a parent from a child and leaves the child temporarily with no immediate care provider.   No parent wants the state to take responsibility for their child, or consider foster care for a temporary situation when better options exists.   This parental concern is even stronger for parents who fear contact with Immigration & Customs Enforcement or another law enforcement agency.  There are legal tools that help a parent prepare for such a scenario.  

In many cases, the period of separation is less than twenty-four hours and...

Feb
21

Modification of Custody and Parenting Time

Sometimes clients come to Wilson Law Group months or years after finalizing a divorce or custody case and want to change the custody labels or parenting time schedule established previously. Some parents want to modify custody labels due to a new reality: a new job that is farther away, or because the child has started living with the “non-custodial” parent full-time. Other parents want to modify custody because they are concerned with the other parent’s parenting skills, or fear for the safety of the child. Modification, however, can be a very difficult process in Minnesota as many...

Nov
25

Family Court Jurisdiction over Non-Residents of Minnesota

Wilson Law Group regularly represents clients seeking a divorce from a spouse living outside of Minnesota.  We encounter a common situation where the parties have been separated for years, often by borders or oceans, but have not actually divorced.  Eventually, the spouse recognizes the time has come to dissolve the marriage, for various personal reasons.  The passage of time does not simply render the parties divorced (an unfortunate myth that continues to persist), and any subsequent marriages are invalid if the prior marriage is not dissolved. 

When the spouse is living outside of...

Oct
12

Recognition of Parentage: Simple Form with Serious Outcomes

When a child is born in Minnesota to an unmarried mother, the mother automatically has sole legal and sole physical custody of that child under Minn. Stat. § 257.541.  When this happens, many parents sign a Recognition of Parentage, or ROP, form so that the baby’s birth certificate will have both parents listed. This is a form that is frequently signed at the hospital and is then submitted to the Minnesota Office of Vital Statistics. The ROP can be signed at any time, however, no matter how old the child is. Signing the ROP is easy to do, but doing so can cause significant...

May
18

Tax Benefit

There are multiple tax benefits associated with parenting including the minor child tax dependency exemption (dependency exemption), the child tax credit, head of household status, child and dependent care tax credit, the earned income tax credit, and benefits associated with Health Savings Accounts.

When the parents of a child are together and filing taxes jointly, the parties do not have to think about who is entitled to the tax benefits of claiming the minor child or children. However, when couples divorce, who claims the child or children for tax proposes can become a source of...

Apr
9

Counting Hours Worked for Child Support - Not All Hours Are the Same

In Minnesota, the child support amount the court orders a person to to pay is a function of several economic factors. These factors include both parent’s gross monthly income, the costs of medical and dental insurance for your joint child(ren), any non-joint children living in either home, the cost of child care, and the amount of time that the joint child(ren) spends with each parent. A judge or child support magistrate enters these factors into the Minnesota Child Support Calculator to determine a child support obligation. Although plugging numbers into the Minnesota Child Support...

Mar
19

The Effect of Special Findings in Protection or Harassment Cases on Immigration Status

Most attorneys are aware that a finding of guilt in a criminal matter may create a consequence for his or her client if he or she is not a U.S. citizen.  For certain crimes, pleading guilty or being found guilty at trial will cause loss of lawful status, denial of a future application of citizenship, deportation, and/or denial of eligibility for relief from removal.  What about a judicial or administrative finding, or adjudication outside of the criminal court? This is an area that is not as clear cut, and understandably creates apprehension for both parties and attorneys. 

Whenever...

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