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Anoka Divorce Law Blog

How child support reductions are determined

Divorced non-custodial parents residing in Minnesota and elsewhere in the U.S. may have questions about how to lower their child support payments. There are several reasons a child support reduction may be granted. For example, the court may allow a child support reduction if a parent suffers a significant change in his or her financial situation or when a child becomes an adult and is therefore capable of self-support. The court may also grant a child support reduction if both parents are in agreement about the reduction.

Some jurisdictions appoint a government agency to handle child support. If this is the case, it is likely that both parents will be required to complete a financial affidavit. If the agency determines that a reduction is indeed warranted, and if both parents agree that a reduction is necessary, the agency may lower the non-custodial parent's financial obligation. However, if the custodial parent is not in agreement that the non-custodial parent should be granted a reduction, it is likely that a court date will be set, and an appointment before a judge will be required.

Divorced parents should have a plan for the holidays

Divorced and separated parents in Minnesota should come up with a holiday plan in advance to help mitigate stress. Holidays are especially difficult for families who have to struggle with child custody. To prevent tempers and emotions from flaring and help make the holidays more enjoyable for the children, special times of year should be approached with the right attitude.

Divorced individuals should first remember to put their children above their own personal feelings, which is not easy for all parents. It may help to see a therapist or involve friends and family in the decision-making process. A solid support system can go a long way toward making decisions that truly put the children first.

Parallel parenting can work with meticulous planning

Minnesota parents who are considering a breakup may have been told the best parenting relationships are collaborative. Conflict between parents is a high source of stress for everyone involved. This is especially true for children who are already experiencing a major change in life and living arrangements. When there is a great deal of animosity between parents it is sometimes just not possible to have a collaborative co-parenting relationship. For these couples, the answer often comes from implementing a highly specific parallel parenting plan. The key for each method to work is parents putting their focus on the children involved rather than each other.

While collaborative parenting involves frequent and positive child-centered communication between the parents, parallel plans seek to limit communications as much as possible in order to avoid potential conflict. Parents must adopt a method of approved communication and keep those communications businesslike and focused strictly on logistics. Email is often the preferred method of communication but parents must commit to practicing good faith in checking and sending these messages as needed. Parents must learn to simply let go of efforts to control or be involved in whatever happens when children are with the other party. This can be a source or both stress and liberation for those involved.

An issue that often prompts divorce in Minnesota

Whether you and your spouse have only been married for a couple years or if you two have aged 20 years or more since your wedding day, you would likely agree with most Minnesota spouses who say marriage can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time. Perhaps your bad times started to outweigh your good times at some point, and that is why you have decided to divorce. If your situation was prompted by a particular issue, such as infidelity, you are definitely not alone in your struggle.

Many marriages end because of this issue. While every relationship is unique, spouses often relate to other couples regarding underlying factors that may have caused one or both spouses to cheat. Not every marriage winds up in divorce court over infidelity; however, when this is a central issue in an unsustainable relationship, there is often a lot of emotional turmoil involved. A strong web of support comprised of family, close friends and legal advocates can provide encouragement and assistance as needed.

What parents can do to help children adjust to divorce

"Birdnesting" is a name for a custody arrangement that some Minnesota parents may want to try. Birdnesting involves the parents keeping the family home and having the children live there full time while each parent lives there part time. Parents might rotate in and out of a small apartment when they are not in the family home. Usually, parents use birdnesting to give their children more stability during or after divorce.

However, some conditions must be in place for this arrangement to be successful. Parents need to be able to get along very well. Experts also advise a short-term arrangement of no more than three to six months. This may be long enough to get to the end of a school year but not so long that children start to think their parents may reconcile. Sharing space can also create volatile situations for parents even if their relationship is amicable, so it is best to limit the duration of the arrangement.

Values of judges influence child custody decisions for fathers

Fathers in Minnesota sometimes criticize family courts for denying them access to their children or imposing child support payments that they consider unreasonable. They perceive courts as favoring women in these decisions, but most state laws recognize that both parents have equal rights regarding access to their children. Judges, however, make the final decisions when child custody and support disputes end up in court, and their personal values sometimes discount the rights of fathers. Judges with old-fashioned beliefs tend to consider mothers to be better caregivers.

The results can frustrate fathers, especially if they have limited time with their children and burdensome support payments. Fathers who were never married and do not appear on their children's birth certificates might also feel shut out, but they can pursue a legal process to establish their paternity and rights to see their children.

Common financial mistakes in divorce can be avoided

When people in Minnesota get a divorce, they may be prone to making a number of financial mistakes. Some of those errors could happen because of a lack of familiarity with tax law. For example, they may try to liquidate some assets to pay debts, but there could be a significant tax attached to that liquidation.

Another tax-related error is failing to get a qualified domestic relations order in order to take a distribution from a 401(k) if it must be divided as part of the divorce agreement. Without this and an IRA to roll the distribution into, there could be significant penalties and taxes. On the other hand, people should be aware that for divorces finalized after the end of 2018, alimony will no longer be tax-payable or tax-deductible. According to experts, this is likely to lead to less money for both recipient and payer.

Nicole Curtis reaches custody agreement with ex

Many parents in Minnesota endure custody battles over their children that can go on for years. Reality television star Nicole Curtis has signed a joint custody agreement with her ex-boyfriend that brings an end to their three-year custody dispute.

Nicole and her boyfriend, a businessman from Minnesota, have shared custody of their son previously but had filed several legal actions against each other recently to modify the arrangement. The most current agreement states that they will share equal responsibility and decision-making authority for their son's well-being, including his education, medical care and religious upbringing.

Sole custody of the children offers a few benefits

You have decided to file for divorce, and the move has sparked a range of emotions within you. Although you look forward to breaking free from the other party, you worry about how you and your future ex will handle the custody of your children.

In Minnesota, you could have joint custody with the other parent or gain sole custody of the children, where custody is awarded to you alone. Here is a glimpse at what sole custody in particular involves.

Prenup myths and the truth about pre-marriage agreements

Couples planning to walk down the aisle in Minnesota often have visions of spending a lifetime together. Unfortunately, this isn't always the reality with marriages today, which is why it can be a smart idea for two people planning to legally wed to consider a prenuptial agreement beforehand. Yet some couples avoid discussing a prenup because of lingering misconceptions, such as the belief that such a document is only necessary if one spouse has significant wealth they want to protect. In reality, a prenup can cover all types of marital assets, so disputes can be avoided later.

While prenups can include things like stipulations for future alimony payments and debt obligations, agreements with one-sided or unreasonable provisions may not be considered by the court in the event of a divorce. Additionally, many couples are unaware of the fact that prenups can cover more than who gets what if a marriage ends. Such documents can also establish the basics of an estate plan. Also, a generous higher-earning spouse can give their former partner more than what was stipulated in the agreement without nullifying its terms.

Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.

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