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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Devise a child custody plan that helps you avoid summer problems

No Minnesota parent is guaranteed that he or she will never encounter challenges regarding child-related issues in life. In fact, most parents will, at some point. A particularly stressful time can be summer, especially following a recent divorce. That is why it pays to implement a child custody agreement that is thoroughly written, with terms that are clearly defined.

Some parents would rather just decide where their kids are going to live and how much each parent will contribute toward financial needs. They want to sign the most basic custody plan available, say their good-byes and move on in life after divorce. However, not taking time to discuss summer months, especially if both parents work outside the home, can lead to complicated legal issues that are difficult to resolve.

When can I lower my alimony obligations?

Paying alimony, otherwise known as spousal support, can feel like a huge burden. It is likely that you are paying alimony in addition to child support, and you may also have suffered financially during the divorce settlement in Saint Paul. This is why many divorcees want to look into the possibility of lowering or putting a stop to spousal support.

It is possible to modify the spousal support agreement informally if you and your ex mutually decide to do so. However, making such agreements without the assistance of the courts can become risky, because the agreement may not be able to be enforced if one spouse violates it. If you decide to try and modify the alimony order with the assistance of Minnesota courts, the following are some common situations in which you will be able to file for a modification.

Jennifer Hudson in bitter battle over child support

Celebrities often seem larger than life; however, outside of their jobs in film or on stage, they are people like everyone else, and they have private lives that often include marriage and parenting. Also, just like non-celebrity parents, famous moms and dads often face child support and other custody problems. Minnesota fans of television singing competitions may remember the 2004 season of American Idol that began Jennifer Hudson's rise to fame. The actress and singer is currently discussing her own celebrity status and income in court because of a heated disagreement she is having with the father of her child.

Hudson was never married to her child's father. She has been outspoken about laws that allow him to use a portion of the child support payments she sends to pay for housing. She says he is perfectly capable of earning enough income to pay for his own home.

How to divorce without going broke

Before 2019 ends, many Minnesota married couples will decide to end their marriages. While current data shows that divorce is declining, it is still quite prevalent throughout the country. The reality is that there is no way to predict which marriages will last and which will not.

When someone files for divorce, it is common to feel concerned about finances. Especially if the relationship is less than civil, a person might worry that his or her ex is going to try to beat the system and gain the upper hand in property division proceedings and other issues. There are several practical ideas to keep in mind when achieving a settlement without breaking the bank is the ultimate goal.

Divorce: Staying close to kids as a noncustodial parent

Every family situation in Minnesota and beyond is unique and some are more challenging than others. When divorce occurs, it can be difficult to adapt to a new lifestyle. Especially if there are unresolved legal issues between a custodial and noncustodial parent, it can cause serious problems and impede a parent/child relationship.

Noncustodial parents can be proactive by remaining close to their kids. To keep stress levels low, one of the best things parents can do is to show respect for each other, especially in front of their children. Speaking negatively or otherwise trying to undermine a co-parent's relationship with his or her kids can make life miserable and can also prompt litigation in family court.

Child custody: Abuse allegations often complicate matters

Minnesota judges often have their work cut out to determine whether there is merit to accusations of child endangerment or abuse when a parent petitions the court for sole custody. Child custody proceedings can sometimes include issues that are black and white, and when parents agree, they simply need to workout the details of their co-parenting arrangements. Other cases are far more complicated, however, such as those involving parents accusing each other of being a detriment to a child's well-being.

That is what is happening in reality TV star Bethenny Frankel's case against her former spouse, Jason Hoppy. Both parents have accused each other of child detriment. Frankel says Hoppy is emotionally and mentally abusive and that his presence places her daughter's emotional stability at risk. Hoppy told the court that Frankel has exposed his daughter to unsavory things, including possible illegal drug use by Frankel's now-deceased boyfriend, Dennis Shields, who passed away after a drug overdose.

Why would you keep your home during divorce?

The reason that you hear so many divorcing couples talk about selling the house is that it makes things far easier from a financial perspective. If you still have a mortgage, you can pay it off and eliminate your debt. If you own the house -- or if it sells for more than you owe -- you can split up the earnings. As you dissolve your marriage and split assets, this gives you a simple way to divide the value in the home.

But if that's so easy and common, why do some people opt to keep the house? Here are a few potential reasons:

Minnesota alimony basics to know before heading to court

Many Minnesota marriages will end in divorce this year. Every case is unique and judges overseeing particular cases must make decisions based on the specific evidence presented in court. In many cases, a key issue that often leads to litigation is alimony.

The court often orders alimony as a means of financial assistance to a lower income-earning spouse in divorce. The purpose of this type of support is to help the financially struggling spouse to maintain a similar standard of living to which he or she was accustomed in marriage. A judge typically considers several factors before making such decisions. 

NFL's Antonio Brown petitions court for child custody

Most Minnesota parents who face legal issues regarding child-related matters are not celebrities. However, some may relate to a situation that a particular sports celebrity is currently navigating. The NFL Steelers' wide receiver, Antonio Brown, has filed paperwork in court to seek sole child custody of his daughter, following an incident where he says the child's mother falsely accused him of domestic violence.

Brown's attorney issued several public statements to clarify the situation. He said the child's mother had gone to Brown's residence demanding more child support. She reportedly refused to leave the premises when asked to do so and later filed a police report accusing of Brown of domestic violence but recanted the statement because it held no merit.

Miguel Cabrera ordered to pay $20,000 per month in child support

Many Minnesota married couples fight over money. In some situations, extenuating circumstances intensify such personal problems, such as when spouses are discovered to be giving money to other romantic partners in extramarital affairs. Major League Baseball's Miguel Cabrera almost lost his wife to divorce for similar issues; however, she ultimately decided to stay married in spite of her husband's infidelity. Some say that the fact that Cabrera chose staying with his wife over leaving her for his mistress is what prompted the ex-mistress to sue him for child support.

The woman in question gave birth to two children during her affair with the MLB star. His paternity of the children was established when she filed a lawsuit against him. The woman's attorney told the court that she was doing what most good mothers would do in trying to protect her children's best interests.

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