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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Retail therapy will not ease the emotions during a divorce

Most divorced Minnesota spouses will likely agree that ending a marriage is both financially and emotionally draining. However, it is crucial to avoid having the emotions rule the financial decisions made at this challenging time. This often happens when one spouse insists on keeping the family home after the divorce. Without proper consideration of all the factors, that person might find that the maintenance, mortgage and other house-related expenses are unaffordable on a single income. Securing a new mortgage on only one spouse's salary might be challenging.

For some people, retail therapy is the only medication for emotional trauma, but buying a new car, having plastic surgery or any other significant expenses can lead to an unmanageable debt load. Furthermore, it could adversely affect his or her credit score. Cashing in investments is another impulsive action that is best avoided because it might solve immediate problems but create future difficulties, and it might even ruin all goals and plans that person had for the future. It might be more beneficial to draft a financial plan.

Divorce while self-employed -- what now?

Being self-employed can be stressful. The idea of "you and you alone" being responsible for the financial contribution one makes to a household can be daunting because being self-employed requires financial and time sacrifices. When a divorce then becomes reality accompanied by a realization of the financial implications it brings, one may become overwhelmed.

Any self-employed person in Minnesota may benefit from considering the aspects mentioned below should he or she be in the midst of a divorce. Firstly, it is imperative to realize that there are many more options than the traditional divorce. While no option guarantees a cheap, fast and painless divorce, the right choice for one's particular situation may lessen the impact on a business.

Divorce -- how does it affect small business owners?

Establishing a business takes time and money and a lot of emotional investment. While it often becomes one's biggest financial asset, it also symbolizes personal achievement. So- what happens in the case of a divorce?

It is a fact that when one spouse owns a business, things will be more complicated and the business affected when a couple decides to part ways. The extent to which a Minnesota business may be affected in case of a divorce will differ, depends on which precautions are in place. Precautionary measures can be taken before marriage or during marriage.

The complex issue of division of marital property in a divorce

States are either considered as community property states or equitable distribution states. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, which means that, in the case of a divorce, a judge will decide on the fairest way to distribute marital property. Ensuring a fair distribution of property is no easy feat and, very often, both parties may feel they were done in.

In coming to a decision on the fair distribution of assets, there are four issues you will have to handle. Firstly, it must be established what the assets of both spouses are. Secondly, these assets must be divided into two categories -- marital- and non-marital assets. Thirdly, each asset must be valued, and lastly, the two parties, with the help of their lawyers, must devise a way to divide the marital property according to Minnesota divorce laws.   

Are you being 'gaslighted' by your spouse?

If you and your spouse are in a volatile relationship, it's possible that your relationship could degenerate into domestic violence. Physical abuse can leave visible scars, but there is a type of psychological abuse that traumatizes its victims just the same — gaslighting.

That term is derived from a 1930s play that later became a movie. It was called Gas Light, because the plot revolved around a husband's attempt to make his wife think that she was losing her mind. He manipulated the gas-powered lights in his home to brighten and dim randomly while denying any changes were occurring in the room's illumination.

How long do alimony payments last?

Ending a marriage is typically traumatic for any Minnesota couple, and although most spouses may want to make a clean break and proceed with a new life, some connection will remain if there are children or if the court orders spousal support to be paid. The person paying alimony will likely not be keen on spending many years of supporting an ex-spouse, and, similarly, the one receiving it might want to become self-supporting as soon as possible. Both would want to know how long alimony will last.

Each case is unique, and the period of spousal support can vary widely. It will depend on state laws and also on personal circumstances. Typically, spousal support only lasts as long as it is officially needed. Lifetime alimony is no longer common since both spouses in most families are educated and able to earn an income.

How to avoid being in contempt of court in a divorce case?

Most people have something that make them see red and lose their cool. One place where even the most easygoing person can be tempted to act out is family court. In divorce proceedings, the judge may give such detailed instructions of what may and may not be done, that the recipient of the message may feel like he or she is in kindergarten.  Despite how this makes a person feel, Minnesota divorcees can only benefit from adhering to these court orders.

Not following the orders may result in a finding of contempt of court. This literally means that a person has failed to adhere to an order handed down by a judge. In the case of divorce, issues which commonly lead to contempt relate to custody, withholding financial information and ignoring restraining orders. Depending on the underlying issue, judges may give a person in contempt some time to rectify the issue, but not adhering may result in fines and even jail time.

Divorce: mistakes it may be wise to avoid

Thinking with one's head and not one's heart is not always an easy thing to do, especially when the decision one has to make involves strong emotions. One instance where it is imperative to avoid making emotional decisions is during the divorce process. The problem is that many emotionally charged factors, such as child support and custody, can make matters more difficult.

Of course, divorce is also legally challenging. Minnesota divorcees may benefit by being aware of a few possible mistakes to avoid. First, guidelines and decisions made with regard to custody must always be respected. Disregarding legal rulings in terms of visitation and or child support may have detrimental repercussions and can even lead to a loss of visitations or even custodial rights.

Child custody: Awareness for child support raised in August

Children need their families to act as a unit in order to thrive. The month of August is to be focused on creating awareness for the importance of supporting children. The physical and emotional needs of children should be a priority no matter the dynamics of the child's family within which they grow up. Creating awareness among Minnesota parents regarding the importance of child custody arrangements in establishing a feeling of security in their children is one focal point.

While the main aim of the Division of Child Support of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) is to ensure that children are supported financially, there is an understanding for the dilemmas parents may face. A number of reasons may prohibit parents meeting their financial obligations, although they may really want to do so. Parents may not be able to meet their obligations due to being homeless, unemployment or past legal troubles.

How to prevent trouble when asking for a prenuptial agreement

Asking for a prenuptial agreement can be scary, as you don't want to anger your partner in advance of your wedding day.

Even so, if you know that a prenuptial agreement is important to you, it's a conversation you must bring to light as soon as possible.

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