If you are considering divorce, are going through a contested divorce, uncontested divorce or are facing a family law issue, you likely have many questions that an experienced divorce attorney can answer. For your convenience, we have answered some frequently asked questions below.
We also welcome you to contact us to get information regarding your specific case. The issues surrounding these areas are often complex and delicate, and having a good lawyer at your side will be extremely helpful.
Do I really need a lawyer for my divorce or custody case?
While you do not have to hire an attorney, it is definitely advisable that you hire an experienced family lawyer to represent you during your divorce or your child custody case. In Minnesota custody is awarded based on the best interests of the child, which are determined by consideration of thirteen factors: (1) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody; (2) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference; (3) the child’s primary caretaker; (4) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;(5) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests; (6) the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community; (7) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity; (8) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home; (9) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability, of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child; (10) the capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child’s culture and religion or creed, if any; (11) the child’s cultural background; (12) the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent; and (13) the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.
What are the “grounds” for divorce?
In Minnesota, grounds for divorce are not based upon the fault of one party. This is a “no fault” divorce state, for which the grounds are that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship.
How is property divided in a divorce?
In Minnesota, with a few exceptions, all property acquired and income earned during a marriage is considered marital property and is subject to equitable distribution. The court will determine what is considered non-marital property and what is marital property. Non-marital property usually remains separate and marital property is distributed equitably between both spouses. The court will also take into consideration the circumstances surrounding the case and both parties.
How can I receive spousal maintenance?
Spousal maintenance, also referred to as alimony or maintenance, may be awarded to either spouse in a divorce, based upon t the financial needs of the requesting party compared to the ability of the other party to pay considering the standard of the living established during the marriage. Also important are factors such as the present and future earning potential of each spouse, and the ability of each spouse to support him or herself independently in the future. Maintenance may be awarded on a permanent or temporary basis and can be awarded to either the wife or the husband.
How is child support determined?
Most people are familiar with the former laws regarding child support, which focused on which parent had physical custody of the child. However, these laws drastically changed in 2007 and the custodial labels are no longer as important. Currently, child support is based on the combined income of the parents and the parenting time each has with the child. These factors also impact each parent’s obligation for the child’s medical and child care expenses.