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10 Minnesota Family Law Questions With Straightforward Answers

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10 Family Law Questions

Sometimes you just want the facts, just the facts Ma’am. And that is what this post, a down and dirty look at some very common questions (I bet I answer at least 4 of these a week on the phone!). You won’t find any crazy long-winded answers here, just what you need to know.

While it may be frustrating to ask your lawyer a series of questions only to hear “it depends” all too often in response, it’s an unavoidable fact of life (and law) that the correct answer frequently IS “it depends.” And having your lawyer simplify the issue too much won’t ultimately do you any good.

However, you may be pleased to hear that, under Minnesota law, there are a few occasions when there actually is a straightforward, succinct answer to your question. Here are ten of them.

1. What do I have to show to get a change in the current custody arrangement?

You need to show that there is in fact a change in circumstances has occurred and that modification is in the best interests of the child and that there has been endangerment. 

Endangerment is whole seperate blog post, but the big takeaway is that you need to be sure about what you are agreeing the first time! Don’t settle for somethign you aren’t going to be happy with and just say “I’ll deal with it later”. Later is always harder (and more expensive).

2. When does a child support judgment expire?

20 years after its entry, although it can be renewed for another 20 years. This means that if you are owed child support, that it really doesn’t go away. Child Support Arrears can end up causing a terrible headache including losing your passport, driver’s license as well as wage garnishment and tax seizure! The bottom line is pay your child support (or try and get it modified!)

3. What are the different kinds of child support?

Child Support consists of 4 things. 1) Basic support, really the monthly support you pay or receive. 2) Health insurance 3) unreimbursed medical costs (out of pocket costs and 4) child care costs.

The first one is calculated using the MN Child Support Calculator, the other 3 part of child support are based on the PICS formula (your monthly income + your spouses Monthly income then divided to see what the percentage is!)

4. Can my soon-to-be ex agree to waive child support?

No, an agreement to waive child support is not enforceable; it’s considered to be against public policy. Now, does this mean you can’t have a “gentleman’s agreement”? and just agree to not accept it if you are owed it? Yes, you can but just know it’s not going to be enforcable and that means it can change in the future very easily.

5. Will the court consider that my ex cheated on me in deciding whether or not I have to pay spousal support?

No, marital misconduct is not a factor in the court’s determination of whether spousal support is necessary. Minnesota (and actually every other state) has move to a No-Fault model of divorce, so the court cannot look at any sort of conduct or misconduct that your ex did!

6. What county do I file for divorce?

You have the option to file either in the county you reside or where your spouse resides. This usually isn’t a big deal, but it does give you a chance to do what is called “judge shopping” as there are some judges who might be a bit more favorable to your side of the case.

7. Will a court enforce our prenuptial agreement?

Yes, courts generally enforce prenuptial agreements if they meet all legal requirements. There’s a bit of an “it depends” here, though. For a prenup to be upheld in Minnesota, it needs to be equitable, meaning it must be fair to both parties.

It’s also important that both parties fully disclosed their assets and liabilities before signing and that neither party was under duress or coercion. Additionally, both parties should have had the opportunity to consult with legal counsel.

If a prenup seems significantly unfair to one party at the time of divorce, or if there were issues with its formation, a court may decide not to enforce it. To stand the best chance of being enforceable, a prenuptial agreement should be approached with transparency, fairness, and the guidance of an experienced attorney.

8. Do I need a lawyer when the county says I’m the father of a child?

Good question! Short answer…maybe. Typically the County will demand a DNA test first, you probably don’t a lawyer until you either get notice that you are the father or if there is no DNA test just the allegation that you’re the father.

9.  My Mom gave me money will we have to split this money if we get divorced?

No, if the gift was truly intended for you alone, it would typically be considered your non-marital property, and you wouldn’t be required to split it in a divorce. Minnesota law generally protects inheritances, gifts, and bequests given to one spouse as non-marital property. However, it’s crucial to avoid “co-mingling” the money with marital assets.

For example, if you deposit the money into a joint account or use it towards a marital home, it might lose its non-marital status. To ensure the gift remains your separate property, keep it in a separate account in your name only and avoid using it for joint purchases or expenses. If there’s any doubt or dispute about the nature of the gift, documentation from the time of the gift indicating it was intended only for you can be extremely helpful.

10. Do grandparents have any visitation rights?

In Minnesota, grandparents do have potential visitation rights under certain circumstances. According to Minnesota statutes, grandparents can seek visitation rights particularly if the parents are deceased, in cases of divorce, legal separation, or if the child has lived with the grandparents for a significant period.

The court considers such petitions by evaluating what serves the best interests of the child, including the child’s relationship with the grandparents, the amount of personal contact between the child and the grandparents, and the effect such visitation rights would have on the relationship between the child and the child’s parents.

It’s essential to remember that each case is unique, and the court’s decision will always focus on the best interests of the child. Grandparents seeking visitation rights are encouraged to seek legal counsel to navigate the complexities of family law effectively.

Information obtained in mankatofamilylaw.com may contain knowledgable content about Minnesota Family Law that may be considered beneficial to some; however, in no way should this website or its contents be considered legal advice. Mr. Kohlmeyer is a Minnesota licensed Attorney and cannot provide legal services or guidance to those outside of Minnesota. If you wish to retain Mr. Kohlmeyer as your Attorney in Your Family Law matter, contact 507-625-5000.

Information obtained in mankatofamilylaw.com may contain knowledgable content about Minnesota Family Law that may be considered beneficial to some; however, in no way should this website or its contents be considered legal advice. Mr. Kohlmeyer is a Minnesota licensed Attorney and cannot provide legal services or guidance to those outside of Minnesota. If you wish to retain Mr. Kohlmeyer as your Attorney in Your Family Law matter, contact 507-625-5000.

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Comments 3
  1. I received an email from a reader and thought I’d share it:

    Good afternoon:

    I read your blog and found it very helpful, but I couldn’t find the answer to my question.

    My ex husband and I divorced and agreed to joint legal/joint physical custody. We have a set parenting schedule that calculated to my having them a little more than 50% of the time and him the rest. The judge issued C Support on a 50/50 split which isnt correct at all (the judge counted in school time as his parenting time?). This is a huge hit to C Support. Since the divorce two years ago, his parenting time has been less and less. I dont mind completing paperwork, but I do not even know where to start. I have a C Support Case worker but she hasn’t been too helpful.

    Any suggestions? I live in Hennepin County

    CNR

    1. Thanks for the comment reader! Short answer is you need to have 45.1% if it’s 46%…47%…49%…it doesn’t matter as the three levels are between 0-10%, 10.1-45% and 45.1%+ of overnights.

      As for actual parenting time, it doesn’t really matter that much since the child support magistrate will only look at the percentage of overnights the order says he has.

      It sounds like you need him to follow the order or modify the order in family court so it shows the actual percentage of parenting time you have.

      Jason

  2. Pingback: What the Law Says About Family Concerns | Help and Aid Businesses
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