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Anoka Divorce Law Blog

Dealing with higher education costs during divorce

Minnesota parents often wonder how they will manage paying for their children's higher education. The costs are already high, and they continue to rise. In fact, the College Board notes that there is an increase of approximately 3 percent in the cost of college attendance each year. On average, the cost for one year of tuition, fees and room and board at a private university is $46,950, while the same annual cost at a public in-state university is $20,770.

The financial strain can be exacerbated after parents divorce. Divorce is common - approximately 40 percent of marriages come to an end - but also financially draining. The cost of setting up two households from one can be significant, and court orders prioritize child support and spousal support above other types of expenses. This means that divorcing parents may need to think about new plans for how to fund their children's education.

Collaborative divorces may lead to more financial stability

Some people in Minnesota who are ending their marriages may want to join a growing trend of couples who are taking a more collaborative approach to divorce. The process can cost upwards of $15,000 and leave one or both people less financially stable, but hiring a financial planner may help. Some financial experts believe this approach benefits the entire family.

The financial planner can be one element of a person's divorce team that also includes people such as an attorney and family members who can offer emotional support. With this assistance, a person might feel more prepared to negotiate with a spouse even if there has been a great deal of conflict.

The importance of early prenup discussions

A prenuptial agreement is an important but sometimes unsavory topic for couples in Minnesota. This is especially true when there is considerable family wealth at stake. While everyone hopes a marriage lasts forever, the fact that almost half of all marriages end in divorce cannot be ignored. High-asset divorces can be costly and financially devastating. However, a prenup can prevent many of these costs and losses.

In wealthy families, the parents are often more concerned with prenuptial agreements than their children are. If a child has not been educated well about finances, the family's wealth or the importance of a prenup, they may avoid having this conversation with their partner. Parents might then try to force the issue, which could make the potential spouse feel targeted or threatened. Some experts suggest that parents avoid these problems by having the prenup conversation with their children early, before a marriage is even being considered.

The complexities of divorce as a business owner

For people in Minnesota going through a divorce who are also small business owners, the value of the business can be a major issue during property division negotiations. When a couple owns a family business, especially a profitable enterprise, it can be the most valuable asset handled as part of the marital property. In order to properly assess the asset and divide its value, it is critical to first establish a proper valuation for the enterprise.

High-asset divorces involving well-known, profitable businesses can be complex because of the detailed financial information that is necessary to present a true picture of marital property. There are several standard accounting approaches to business valuation, including asset, market and income approaches, and all of them are suitable for use during divorce proceedings. Each spouse's lawyer will likely need to work with financial experts to establish an independent valuation for the company. While this process begins with a review of financial statements, it can also include more in-depth study such as reviewing original records, interviewing management or touring facilities.

Determining grandparents' rights and a child's best interests

It can sometimes be challenging for members of many Minnesota families to spend time together. This is especially true after a divorce or when there are unhealthy family dynamics. While it is very common for parents to sort out issues of co-parenting, custody and visitation in the courtroom, these issues typically involve grandparents much less often. However, grandparents' rights are an emerging and rapidly developing area of the law.

Rules about grandparents' rights vary from state to state. In every jurisdiction, the best interests of the child is the determining factor for custody and visitation. In Minnesota, visitation rights can be granted in certain circumstances such as in the death of a parent. Grandparents' rights often prove invaluable to a child's best interests and ensuring that family relationships are protected.

Bird nesting is latest divorce trend

When Minnesota couples divorce, one of the biggest decisions they face is where to live once the split is finalized, particularly when they have children. One new trend is called bird nesting, and it's currently featured on a new television show.

Bird nesting involves raising children in one home and having the parents take turns living in it. The concept is featured on the ABC comedy "Splitting Up Together," which stars Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson as parents who switch off living in the family home with their kids.

Older divorcees have greater risk in divorce

Minnesota couples considering divorce after the age of 50 might be interested in learning they are part of a growing trend. Divorce rates in this age bracket have doubled in recent years and spawned the term "gray divorce." Older couples suffering financial losses during a divorce have less time to recoup those losses than younger individuals. Unfortunately, statistics show that many spouses still allow their partners to make most major financial decisions. This can cause surprises and long-term money problems after a marriage ends.

A recent survey targeted 600 widowed and divorced women over 50 and 1,500 couples in the same age bracket. In couples, 56 percent of women admitted to trusting their spouse with most financial decisions. Of the divorced and widowed women, 59 percent expressed regret for not taking a greater role in their previous marital finances. Nearly 60 percent of divorced women said they were greeted with unknown information during the course of their marital split. Not all surprises were negative as some women discovered retirement and other investment plans about which they had been unaware.

Mediation for divorce

For many Minnesota couples going through divorce, mediation will be more advantageous than the conventional litigation process. Divorce mediations typically take less time, cost less and result in terms that both parties are generally happy with.

However, not every couple will be ideal candidates for mediation. The process is not effective if there is one party who is too fearful to openly express their feelings. Furthermore, mediation is of no use if one or both parties have no desire to compromise or participate honestly in the process. Some may also have concerns that the mediators themselves are not adequately equipped to address complicated financial matters related to divorce settlements.

Planning for exit can help divorce finances

Divorce statistics remain high across the nation and Minnesota is no exception. In some families a pattern of dealing emerges in which one spouse primarily handles finances. There is nothing wrong with having a designated family bookkeeper, but if one spouse remains in the dark regarding financial matters, it can put him or her at a disadvantage if a marital breakup takes place. There are a few simple steps that can help anyone protect themselves and their finances in the event of divorce.

While not applicable to every couple, a first step for some is removing the imbalance regarding knowledge of family assets and money management. Understanding where money comes from and is spent is part of a healthy family dynamic, and is critical in the event of divorce. Another important step if to maintain an individual bank account. This makes it easier to save and access funds that may be needed for emergency living expenses and legal fees in the event of separation and acrimony. Keeping track of marital debt is also important. Getting a copy of both spouse's credit report before filing for divorce can help identify debt and sometimes reveals unknown charge accounts. Prior to filing for divorce, joint debt should be paid down as much as possible and joint credit accounts closed.

Divorce mediation may mean a smoother marital breakup

You and your spouse have decided to call it quits. However, that does not necessarily mean you are up for an end-of-marriage war. In your mind, the sooner you can get divorced and move on with your life as peacefully as possible, the better.

Fortunately, divorce mediation may make this possible for you. Here is a glimpse at what you can expect from this alternative to conventional divorce litigation in Minnesota.

Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.

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Marvin Law Office, L.L.C.
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Anoka, MN 55303

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