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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Alimony, prenuptial agreements and millennials

Previous generations, like the baby boomers and Generation X-ers considered prenuptial agreements something reserved for famous people trying to protect their assets in case of divorce. Many people may have thought it is purely to protect one party against the alimony claims of another. However, the millennials have come to change these ideas.

More and more Minnesota millennials are opting for a prenuptial agreement before tying the knot. Four main reasons have been identified for this move by millennials toward signing an agreement before getting married.  Millennials want to focus on becoming financially secure, independent and established in their careers before tying the knot. A prenup allows a couple to remain financially independent and keep individual assets safe should things not work out.

Child custody: Parenting schedule ensures fair time allocation

Whether separated or divorced, an important decision to be made by parents is how to deal with visitation. As part of the child custody agreement, Minnesota parents may benefit from working toward creating a schedule to be followed to ensure that each parent sees the children as much as possible. Establishing fair parenting time is a good start to solving what many consider to be a difficult problem. 

A negotiated and agreed upon parenting schedule can lay the foundation for a parenting plan that can address aspects such as the responsibilities of each parent, as well as child support. Arriving at a fair agreement ensures an outcome that is best for the whole family. However, while compiling a parenting schedule, there are a number of aspects that should be kept in mind.  

What will alimony options be after Jan. 1, 2019?

When Minnesota couples divorce, money matters and post-divorce financial stability typically receive a significant amount of attention. Those who are still contemplating such a step must keep the changed alimony laws in mind. Currently, any alimony paid in cash to an ex-spouse is tax deductible, but that will no longer apply after the end of 2018. Also, the recipient will not have to declare alimony as a taxable income as of Jan. 1, 2019. This new law has led to some financial advisers suggesting the higher-earning spouse should use a lump sum payment of his or her individual retirement account as a bargaining chip for alimony payments.

However, regardless of how attractive this may sound to the recipient, it must be carefully considered before such an offer is accepted. The paying spouse will have an indirect tax saving because he or she would have had to pay tax on funds withdrawn from the IRA, and although the transfer is tax-free, the receiving spouse will have to pay tax when withdrawing money from it. Furthermore, if the recipient withdraws IRA funds before he or she is 59 and a half years old, there will be a 10 percent penalty for early withdrawal.

Child custody during the summer months: Keep these things in mind

It goes without saying that your child is looking forward to summer vacation. While you may have to work all summer long, it doesn't mean you can overlook the many wants and needs of your child over the next few months.

Child custody disputes have a way of moving to the forefront during the summer months. The way you deal with these will have a lot to say about the way things play out during this time of the year.

What happens to marital gifts in an impending divorce?

One of the nicest things one can do is give a loved one gifts they deserve. However, when things start turning sour, who gets which gifts? This question often is not the first thing one thinks of when a divorce is on the cards, but eventually it springs into mind. Minnesota couples in the midst of a divorce may find out that the answer to this question is not as simple as first thought.

Generally, gifts given to a spouse are seen as marital assets, but certain assets are viewed differently by courts, with a deciding factor being when the gift was given. A good example will be an engagement ring, as it was given to a fiancé before the wedding and would be seen as a gift made before the wedding. However, if alterations are made after the wedding, or it is upgraded after the wedding, it becomes part of the marital assets and could possibly be split equally. It may be important to take cognizance of the fact that Minnesota courts may consider property normally seen as excluded form marital property as included in marital assets when the non-entitled partner is needy.

Domestic violence: Is a restraining order necessary?

There are a number of situations in which one may have to consider applying for a protective or restraining order.  One important point to consider is that there are several different types of orders. The conditions mentioned in an order required in cases of domestic violence will differ from the conditions found in a restraining order against a stalker. Minnesota victims of domestic violence may benefit of taking cognizance of the information below regarding protective orders.

Generally, there are four main types of protective orders, each set up in accordance with state and local law. In each instance, the time within which one has to make the decision to apply for a protective order may also vary. An emergency protective order is typically issued in cases where an arrest is made in domestic violence cases. These orders are given by a magistrate or police officer, sometimes automatically, but they are often only enforceable for a few days.

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.

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