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...

Nov
29

Holiday Schedules: Why “Oh, We’ll Work it Out Later” Doesn’t Really Work

The holidays form childhood memories that last a lifetime.  Every parent finds each one as important as the next.  When parents are working out custody issues, it is common, however, for parents to focus only on the main issues such as custody, child support, and any property division.  After hammering out of all the details, at the end, there is a tendency for weary parents to push the holiday schedule to the side, or state in the proposed decree “the parties will alternate holidays” or will “share holidays  as agreed.”   The rush to move on ultimately is the same a...

Nov
8

Custody Determinations and Orders for Protection - Minnesota Statute 518.17

An Order for Protection (OFP) is a civil order prohibiting a family or household member from contacting the petitioning party when domestic abuse has occurred, or there is an imminent threat that domestic abuse will occur.  A judge can grant an Order for Protection for up to two years, and there is no cost to file.  A parent can apply for an Order for Protection for herself or himself.  A person may also apply on behalf of his or her minor child if the child has been the victim of abuse or a threat of abuse exists.  The petition process itself includes a sworn written statement that...

Sep
21

New and Improved - the Best Interest Standard for Child Custody in MN

Minnesota’s New “Best Interest Factors” for Child Custody

This summer Minnesota enacted significant changes to Minnesota Statute Section 518.17, which defines the best interests test for child custody matters.   Previously, when tasked with decisions regarding child custody and parenting time, Minnesota courts engaged in a two-step process. The first step involved weighing 13 “best interest” factors.. These 13 factors included everything from the wishes of the child to the ability of a parent to raise the child in an environment that provided appropriate cultural and religious...

Sep
21

Why Should We Go to Mediation?

Why Should I Go to Mediation with My Spouse if We Are Divorcing?

A couple who is in the process of divorce understandably may not be on good terms with each other.  But this does not mean that is futile to meet and have a conversation, as long as it is in an appropriate setting, with the mutual intention of working towards an agreement.  

Mediation and Social or Financial Early Neutral Evaluation are types of alternative dispute resolution processes that are encouraged, and often court ordered, for couples seeking to divorce in Minnesota.  In many cases, these processes pave the way for...

Feb
26

Moving with Your Child Out of State: Sole Custody is Not Enough

Minnesota, being the cold state that it is, prompts many daydreams about moving to a warmer climate.  However, if you are the mother of a minor child and not married to the child’s father, you should consult with a family attorney before packing your bags, even though you may have sole custody.

Occasionally, we hear discouraged fathers lament that Minnesota courts favor mothers when it comes to decisions about child custody, before they have had an opportunity to know about their rights.  Family law attorneys know that Minn. Stat. Sec. 257.541, subd. 1 (2015) automatically grants sole...

Nov
26

Special Announcement for Undocumented Fathers of U.S. Citizen or Legal Permanent Resident Children: Establish Your Parental Rights!

There are many benefits to being legally recognized as the parent of a child.   In Minnesota, an unmarried father can voluntary sign a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) with his child’s mother, or establish paternity through family court.  Upon recognition or adjudication of legal parentage, a father has the right to seek custody and parenting time through family court, and be legally obligated to pay child support to the child’s mother. 

Some parents who do not have lawful immigration status may hesitate to complete paperwork or navigate the court system out of fear of contact with...

Nov
6

Child Support: An Obligation, No Matter the Parent’s Immigration Status

Minnesota family law lawyers often hear the question from parents who live apart from their child: “How much will I have to pay for child support?” The lawyer turns to the Minnesota Child Support Calculator online and inputs the relevant information, such as the number of minor joint children, each parent’s gross monthly income, the percentage of parenting time, and the cost of medical insurance.  The client (who is often the father, but not always) may be surprised to hear that his gross monthly income is used in the calculation rather than his take-home pay, and his monthly living...

Aug
15

Obtaining a Passport for a Minor Child

When planning an international vacation, travelling parents should ensure that their U.S. citizen children have passports and be aware of the special requirements for minors under the age of 16.  There may be hurdles if the child’s parents are not married; renewing a passport can be an issue since passports for children under 16 are only valid for 5 years and the parents’ relationship may have changed since the issuance of the first passport so mutual consent (or even communication) is nonexistent.  To make it even more cumbersome, parents of minors under 16 must apply in person for...

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