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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Child custody: Crossing borders with children

Typically, parents will do almost anything to protect their children. This is most probably why reaching agreements on child custody may be one of the more difficult aspects of divorce proceedings. When one of the parties plans to move to another state, or perhaps another country, fear of losing one's children may arise.

Minnesota parents may benefit from knowledge regarding safeguards that can be put in place so that the children are not taken out of the country without their consent. Both custodial and non-custodial parents have certain rights pertaining to visits over country borders, as well as one parent moving to another country. Depending on the seriousness of the threat, there are a number of different avenues to pursue in order to ensure children are not taken across international borders without the consent of the other parent.

A basic introduction to alimony

As so often in life, when a topic is new to someone, the language related to that topic may be daunting and incomprehensible. The same may hold true when it comes to divorce. One aspect of divorce that may confuse and overwhelm someone in the midst of the situation is alimony.

In Minnesota, alimony is a lawful duty a spouse may have to pay to his or her ex in order to ensure the person is in a similar financial position as before the divorce. At minimum, the support will continue until the beneficiary has found his or her feet financially. Spousal maintenance is not an absolute right, but it may be awarded when relevant. The length of the marriage, as well as career sacrifices made by one person to support his or her partner or in order to care for their children, will be taken into consideration to determine if and how much maintenance should be paid.

Legal terminology for divorce can be overwhelming

Anyone in Minnesota who considers ending a marriage may find that learning some of the "language" that will be encountered can simplify the process. Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution option where a divorce mediator helps the parties resolve issues. Collaboration is similar option where both parties, their attorneys and professional advisers agree to work together to reach a fair agreement. Litigation, a third option, is necessary when the parties cannot agree and need the court to decide unresolved issues.

The petition for dissolution is the formal filing for divorce in the appropriate court by the petitioner, who is the filing spouse. The other spouse is referred to as the respondent. Determining the financial and other assets of both spouses is done during a process known as discovery. Marital property -- assets that were acquired during the marriage or premarital assets that became commingled with martial assets -- must be identified for the property division process. These will be separate from any premarital property, which was owned by each spouse before the marriage or was received by one party during the marriage as a gift or by an inheritance. 

Five reasons to modify your divorce agreements

Most people have friends, parents, parents' friends or friends' parents who have gotten divorced. Just because it is common, doesn't mean that everyone is intimately familiar with every part of the divorce process. That lack of understanding often extends to the concept of modifications.

After a divorce there are agreements in place that grow and change with families as time goes on. People revisit these deals, regarding child support or alimony, throughout the lives of their subjects and get them modified. Here are five signs that you should get a modification.

Divorcing violence: Getting out of an abusive relationship

Victims of domestic violence find themselves in a difficult position when they want to get out of their relationships. If they're married, they may wish to ask for a divorce, but doing so could put them in danger. Likewise, leaving could result in the abuser seeking them or family members out, threatening their lives.

Divorcing from a dangerous spouse isn't always easy, but it's worth the challenge. Getting out of a dangerous situation is possible, and there are steps you can take to do so.

Complicated child custody situation involving tribal court

Minnesota parents sometimes face complex situations regarding custody of their children. Such situations often lead to litigation in civil court. However, for those who are of Native American heritage, a different type of court may intervene. This is what has apparently happened in another state where the mother of a newborn child is from the Miccosukee tribe and the father is Caucasian. A nasty child custody battle has ensured between the parents and the infant's grandmother.

The baby's mother, who also has two older children, ages 11 and 12, from a prior relationship, says she was still in the hospital after giving birth to her daughter when tribal police showed up in her room, saying she no longer had custody of her child. The woman told the tribal officers that she did not understand what was happening. The tribal officials took her baby from her and granted custody to the child's maternal grandmother. 

What unmarried fathers should know about seeking custody

A majority of single parent households across the country are headed by women. While there a number of reasons for this, it does not diminish the fact that countless fathers desperately want to be in their children’s lives and seek custody and parenting time as a result. However, many fathers feel as if they are treated as second-class citizens for seeking equal parenting time, especially if they have been intentionally shunned from their children’s lives by vindictive mothers.

Whatever the case may be, it is unfortunate that some fathers give up on the process; frustrated by the pace upon which decisions are made and how much they have to prove. With that said, this post will provide some helpful tips for unmarried dads seeking custody and parenting time.

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