Divorce may create the legal end to marriages, but it does not end relationships, particularly when ex-spouses have children. The final divorce decree sets forth many conditions, and the most important settlement issues involve custody, parenting time and financial support of the children. Unless parents take legal action to change them, these terms are basically set in stone.
It is hard to imagine too many divorces that do not begin with a significant degree of conflict. There are, of course, occasional situations when spouses simply decide they have grown apart, but most cases involve serious disagreements that the parties cannot resolve.
Since annulling a marriage essentially makes it null and void, it seems on the surface as if it is the same as never having married in the first place. However, Minnesota is one of several states that modeled its laws after the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. This Act recognizes the concept of innocent (or putative) spouses, who are individuals who enter into marriage in good faith that the marriage was legally valid.
Divorcing parents frequently hear that judges use the best interests of the child standard when making child-related determinations. Usually, those parents also believe that settlements that provide them with full physical custody and more parenting time overall automatically meet the best interests of the child.
According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Child Welfare Information Gateway, out of approximately 2.1 million reports of child abuse or neglect in 2013, investigations revealed that only about 20 percent of them were valid claims, slanting heavily toward neglect. Although foster children file a fair number of claims, the majority of alleged perpetrators were biological parents.
Many people receive alimony (also known as spousal maintenance) awards as part of MN divorce decrees, but these awards are less common than they were many years ago, and they may be temporary in nature. While our Minnesota alimony lawyers have helped many clients obtain the full support they need after divorce, we have also learned that individuals often discover numerous experiential benefits from going back to work.
Adopting stepchildren is an important step in converting a blended family into a cohesive unit where both parents carry equal weight with the children, but it involves much more than following the appropriate court procedures. Each Minnesota stepparent adoption lawyer at our firm firmly believes that all family members need to go through significant emotional preparation so they already live and act like a typical family before they make the adoption official in court.
Minnesota law currently considers many factors when determining the duration of spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support), if any, after divorce. As a general rule, these help ensure that spouses of limited means can continue to afford living in a reasonable manner after divorce. However, even so-called permanent support ends when either party dies or when the recipient re-marries.
Our Minnesota child custody lawyers have guided countless families in finding effective solutions that address the physical and legal custody of children in divorce cases and other legal circumstances.