What is ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) really? ADR, or Alternative Dispute Resolution, represents a different approach to resolving legal disputes outside the traditional courtroom setting. It’s not just a way to settle disagreements; it’s a way that you can save time, money & stress, often a more appealing option than the lengthy and costly process of litigation. The essence of ADR lies in its flexibility and adaptability to various situations.  There are rules, of course, but they are very “loose,” and they offer parties a chance to find common ground in a less adversarial environment. However, the question of whether […]

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Child Support for Minnesota Business Owners Child support and corporate/business income are not likely to be high on anyone’s list of their favorite things to think about.  When you combine both of them together, they quickly become even less pleasant.  For Minnesota business owners, however, a recent Minnesota Supreme Court decision makes the combination of these two an important consideration in some divorce situations.  This is because, as it turns out, your income may be bigger than you think it is, at least for purposes of calculating your child support, if you are a shareholder in a closely-held subchapter S […]

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Facebook and Divorce In addition to its effect on many other parts of our daily lives, Facebook now appears to be taking over even our divorces.  Over 30 percent of divorce pleadings now contain the word “Facebook.”  What’s going on here?  Are we so attached to Facebook that we can’t imagine completing a task without it?  (I recently saw an online legal question-and-answer session in which a woman asked whether she could serve her husband with divorce papers via Facebook.  The answer, should you be wondering, is no.)  Or, is our increased use of social media somehow causing divorce? This […]

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Keeping the Peace: Holiday Custody Battle | A child custody proceeding can be a lengthy affair even when the parties involved are relatively amicable towards each other.  When they’re not so amicable, “lengthy” can quickly extend to a “War and Peace” level.  And it’s not just the official legal proceedings that can drag on and on; once the court orders are made, there’s still the process of getting both you and your ex to go along with the new custody and visitation routine that has been decided on. This routine often goes in for an extra layer of contention around […]

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Same-Sex Marriage Support Gets a Hat Trick: Laws found unconstitutional in Ohio, Utah, and New Mexico Same-Sex Marriage | It was a good week in the courts for supporters of same-sex marriage rights. Over a span of four days, not one but three different courts came down with favorable decisions towards same-sex marriage. Each of the decisions arose from slightly different reasoning, but taken together, they suggest a pretty clear trend for future litigation over same-sex marriage laws. First up, on December 19, was the New Mexico state Supreme Court. The case at issue there was about whether the state’s […]

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When Do I Call A Divorce Lawyer? This is always a tough question to answer because, believe it or not, I’m not happy when people get divorced! Yes, I know I make my living as a divorce attorney and I still have a few student loans that need to be paid, but one of my favorite phone calls is when a client calls and tells me that it looks like they are getting back together and please stop the process.  Because of this, I believe that it must be the client’s choice when they should get divorced, not the lawyers. Ok, […]

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Who Gets To Claim The Kids After The Divorce? It’s not uncommon for there to be some dispute about who gets to claim the children for tax purposes.  Over the years I have heard many myths about who gets to claim what for taxes, some people think it’s automatically split equally, others say that if you pay child support you get to claim the kids every year, both of these are only partially correct. First, let’s look at the IRS regulations.  The Internal Revenue Code 152(c)(3)(a) says that the custodial parent gets to claim the child unless the parent “affirmatively […]

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Parenting, Soviet-Style-In the U.S. Or, how much money do you really have for child support? If a married couple in Minnesota gets a divorce and child support is awarded, the amount awarded largely depends on the parties’ incomes.  So, say you’re a soon-to-be ex-husband and the court is awarding child support to your ex-wife.  If you want to minimize your child support obligation, what do you do?  What can you do?  You could always move to Bora Bora and change your name, but that’s not very responsible or ethical.  Perhaps a better and more appropriate way to do this is […]

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Domestic Abuse and Divorce in Minnesota Victims of domestic violence have many difficulties on their plate at any given time:  dealing with the physical effects of abuse, seeking help with mental trauma, and finding a positive care situation for children.  Going through a divorce can often exacerbate these issues.  Emotions run high in almost any divorce process, and the increase in tension can make a bad situation worse.  If you are a victim of domestic violence and are considering a divorce, or are already started on the divorce process, here are some things you should keep in mind that can […]

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Minnesota Child Custody Modification with Parents or Children in Different States While you might generally be thrilled to have your ex living in a different state from you, this situation does bring up potential complications about which state’s courts will have jurisdiction to determine child custody issues relating to your children.  As we discussed in a previous post, many states, including Minnesota, have enacted a law called the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) to help alleviate the potential for bureaucratic complications to custody issues when the parents and/or children live in different states. In the earlier post, […]

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Can a Sperm Donor be Forced to Pay Child Support? In a story that made national news, the state of Kansas is seeking to have a sperm donor declared to be the father of a child and to be made financially responsible for the child.  The donation had been made to a lesbian couple’s request on Craigslist for sperm.  Crucially, the man donated a container of sperm directly to the women rather than through a doctor or clinic.  Although both the couple and the man signed an agreement stating that the man would not be liable for child support, this […]

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Moving My Kids Out of State… Is that Legal? The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act With everyone being more mobile than they were 50 years ago and parents no longer necessarily living in the same area in which they grew up, families often end up in different states following a divorce.  When there are child custody issues involved in the divorce, a situation can arise where a parent has a custody decision from a court in one state that he or she wants to enforce in another state.  Or, one parent may want to commence new custody proceedings […]

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A recent federal court ruling has affirmed that, under Minnesota law, a marriage between two opposite-sex individuals, one of whom is transgender, is valid. The case, called Radtke v. Miscellaneous Drivers & Helpers Union Local, stemmed out of a dispute about benefits available to an employee’s spouse under an employee health benefits plan. The plan was subject to Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), which is a federal law setting out minimum standards for such plans. In the Radtke case, the husband worked and participated in an ERISA employee health plan. The husband married a woman who had born male but […]

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As we know, the Kardashian-Humphries wedding did not end in a fairy tale, but what happened to the ring? Who gets it? First of all, what would have happened to the ring if the marriage had never taken place? In both Minnesota and California, an engagement ring is considered to be a gift that is conditioned upon the marriage actually taking place. The idea is that the inherent symbolism of the ring shows that it is based on the promise to marry. If the marriage never takes place, courts generally have two options in deciding who gets the ring: they […]

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Your kids are grown, married, and have moved away, and now they’re having children of their own.  It should be time to enjoy having the house to yourself and visiting your grandkids.  But what if something unexpected goes wrong in this plan?  Maybe your son passes away unexpectedly, and your daughter-in-law (whom, in all honesty, you never liked much anyway) suddenly decides she doesn’t want you spending time with your grandchildren.  How can you maintain a close relationship with your grandchild? Deceased parent Fortunately, Minnesota law provides a vehicle for grandparents to obtain visitation rights in the situation above or […]

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