In Minnesota, “family law” involves a number of matters involving those in a familial relationship, including divorce, adoption, prenuptial agreements, domestic violence and protective services cases. Our experienced family law attorneys have represented clients throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota. While we work very hard to resolve matters out of court, we are prepared to litigate if necessary.
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that the court will not take into account “misconduct” as part of the final Order. There are, however, times when “fault” does creep into a case – for example, alcoholism in a custody dispute.
Custody is one of the major issues (usually the top priority) involved in divorce and paternity cases. Because judges are afforded a great deal of discretion, and because every case is unique, it can be challenging to predict the outcome if the matter proceeds to trial.
Child support is a relatively straightforward matter because it is based upon a specific formula. However, issues such as a parent’s “potential” income, or determining income for a self-employed parent, can present challenges. In some situations, a deviation from the support guidelines is appropriate.
The valuation of assets and tracing of non-marital interests can present a host of challenges. Marital assets and debts are typically divided equally among the parties. Property and debt division is relatively straightforward for some, and rather complicated for others.
Spousal maintenance is an emotionally charged issue. The fact that no formula exists relative to alimony awards means each case is treated uniquely. Given the lack of predictability concerning alimony awards, litigants sometimes have a tough time deciding how to appropriately settle their case.
Many people consider a divorce finalized when the court enters the divorce decree. However, entry of the judgment and decree does not mark the end of the process. There are many reasons a divorce decree may end up being modified.
Paternity cases involve the same child-related issues as a divorce, but also include the adjudication of paternity. Minnesota law provides that unwed mothers have sole authority over the upbringing of a child until a court order grants a father custodial rights or parenting time.
Prenuptial agreements are often considered by individuals who own businesses, or other valuable assets, prior to marriage, and parties who are getting married for a second time and want to preserve their estate for their children.
Our lawyers are privileged to represent those who wish to adopt a child. It’s exciting, emotional and very serious. We’ve handled adoption cases throughout the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota.
Child Protective Services
Minnesota takes every allegation of child abuse or child endangerment seriously. This often means a thorough investigation – during which a child can actually be removed from the care of his, or her, parents.
Domestic abuse allegations should not be taken lightly, and can significantly impact the outcome of a related custody dispute. A rather efficient process is in place to deal with domestic abuse cases, but there are many legal issues involved in the issuance of an Order for Protection.
Harassment, in the legal sense, has a relatively narrow definition. Victims of harassment have an opportunity to seek a Harassment Restraining Order, which precludes further contact, or acts of harassment, by the harassing party.
It shouldn’t be difficult for grandparents to keep in touch with their own grandchildren, but grandparent rights can frequently be violated. Fortunately, Minnesota family law allows the court to grant certain relief for grandparents.
There are several reasons why you may choose to have a legal separation rather than a divorce. Many couples will choose to go through a legal separation as a trial period, to see if they should get divorced. A legal separation often turns into a divorce – or it can actually turn around a marriage.
Termination of Parental Rights
A termination of parental rights ends the parent-child relationship, rendering the child free to be legally adopted by someone other than their biological parent. The process of terminating of parental rights can be an extremely complex one, and Minnesota courts take these issues very seriously.
There is a growing movement toward using alternatives to traditional litigation to resolve divorce cases. One of the most popular options is mediation, which involves both spouses, and their attorneys, meeting with a neutral person trained to help them come to an agreement that is mutually acceptable.
Early Neutral Evaluation
Early Neutral Evaluation under Minnesota law is a process that originated in Hennepin County family court. Today, most Twin Cities counties offer some sort of early neutral evaluation process to divorcing parties.