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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Knowing when to fight for full custody of your child

When you and your spouse are filing for divorce, one of the most critical decisions that will need to be made is how child custody will be arranged. Creating an arrangement that prioritizes the best interests of your children is paramount to giving them the opportunity to live a successful and comfortable childhood. At Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we have helped many families in Minnesota to work through the process of designating child custody. 

While you may be tempted to demand full custody because you cannot imagine living without your children, it is imperative that you understand under which circumstances it is appropriate to fight for full custody. In some situations, despite your desire to be the sole caretaker of your children, it may not be fair to them or your soon-to-be ex to withdraw their parenting privileges. 

Gracious coparenting during holidays

Couples in Minnesota who are separated or divorced but share children together know how challenging it can be to coparent under normal circumstances. When the holiday season rolls around, the challenges can increase. However, this time of year offers great benefits to those moms and dads who are willing to engage in active coparenting. 

As explained by Psychology Today, one important thing for parents to work on is how they will share or split time with their joint children throughout the holiday season. It is equally important that they not focus solely on splitting time, however. There are numerous traditions that they may need to share as well. For example, one parent might take the kids caroling and the other takes them to see Santa Claus at the local mall. When it comes to time and traditions, allowing children to have input can be appropriate based on their ages but parents should not put the onus on children to make the final decisions. 

What child support changes occurred in 2018?

If you pay child support, it is important to stay on top of the different things happening with the system in Minnesota. According to WDIO, the child support guidelines changed in 2018. These changes may affect how much you have to pay in child support, but you will only know if your case is affected if you petition the court to revise your order. Even though the changes went into effect on August 1, 2018, they were not automatically applied to existing child support orders.

The changes basically redesigned the formula used for deciding the amount of support paid. The courts now consider parenting time. The amount of parenting time you have with your children could lower the amount of support you pay because the court recognizes that you require money to support your children when they are in your care. Specifically, the court looks at the number of overnights each parent has since overnight stays require more resources from the parent who has the children.

How children benefit from having engaged fathers

As a Minnesota father who is no longer romantically involved with the mother of your child, you may find that the demise of your romantic relationship has made it more difficult to regularly engage with your son or daughter. Despite the difficulty, however, maintaining an active presence in your child’s life can have a considerable and positive effect on his or her development, growth and happiness. Therefore, it is important that you work to break down the barriers that are preventing you and your child from spending time together. At Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize the critical role fathers play in their children’s lives, and we have helped many fathers looking to spend more time with their kids pursue solutions that meet their needs.

According to Parenting, your active presence in your son or daughter’s life has the capacity to affect everything from his or her performance in school to his or her future romantic relationships. Additionally, the time you spend with your child does not have to include big trips or considerable expenses to make a difference – on the contrary, simple day-to-day activities, such as taking walks or eating meals together, may have the biggest impact on your child’s growth and development.

Do children have a say in custody matters?

It is very normal for a child to have a desire to live with one parent over the other during a divorce situation. If you are concerned that your child's wishes will not be concerned, then it may help to know that according to the Minnesota Statutes, your child may be able to influence the court's decision.

According to the Minnesota Statutes, the court may give some weight to what your child wants if the court believes he or she is capable of making a visitation decision on his or her own and that he or she is doing so independent of any coercion or involvement of you or the other parent. The court will consider your child's age and mental capacity when deciding if he or she is able to make such a request freely.

Are there educational opportunities for single fathers?

Single and divorced fathers across Minnesota know that financial independence is important to giving their children a good life, and one of the ways to achieve it is to complete a college education or earn a degree in a profession that they can succeed in. However, a solid education costs money, and many fathers are financially strapped. A good scholarship could provide the answer, but they are not easy to find, not unless you know where to look.

U.S. News and World Report provides some tips for fathers looking for educational opportunities. One of the ways is to seek scholarships that are connected to whatever you want to study. If you are interested in the biological sciences, there are scholarships offered for just that field. The same is true for any industry whether it be astronomy, engineering, math, technology, or a medical profession.

Does delinquent child support harm your credit?

Many people understand that a failure to pay child support runs the risk of wage garnishments, seizures of tax refunds, or even property liens to pay off the outstanding support. However, delinquent child support can harm your long term financial future in other ways. In fact, failing to pay Minnesota child support can be noted on your credit report and inflict great damage to your credit score.

Nerdwallet warns that credit bureaus record outstanding child support payments in your credit file. So when you fail to make support payments, those delinquent payments will be recorded as part of your credit report. Some state agencies will report you if you rack up more than a thousand dollars in missed support payments. Overdue payments after six months will end up reported to a collection agency.

Unspoken bias: How fathers fare in the judicial system

One of the things you've probably been told by at least one person is that there is a bias against fathers in court. The reality is that there may have been a bias in the past, but parents are equal in the eyes of the court today. The perception used to be that fathers worked and mothers stayed home, so it would be better to keep children with their mothers. Essentially, this wouldn't disturb the status quo.

However, as times have changed, so have gender roles. With more men staying home with children and both parents being likely to have jobs and share responsibilities, it makes sense to treat both mothers and fathers fairly in court. After all, both parents played a role in creating this child or raising this child, so there shouldn't be an automatic bias in favor of one over the other.

How to give your child structured upbringing after a divorce

The Bench & Bar of Minnesota website lists twelve factors that were recently put in place to define the “best interests of a child.” One of those twelve factors is the ability of parents to cooperate in raising their child. For divorced parents who share custody of their child, cooperation becomes even more important. Giving your child a stable, structured upbringing can make the child custody experience more positive and provide your child with a healthy and stable life.

Psychology Today recommends that divorced spouses create a parenting scheme that governs the child consistently no matter which home the child is staying in. These rules include when the child goes to bed, what the child eats, the child’s daily chores, the times to do schoolwork, and rules for leisure like watching television or using a computer. A consistent scheme not only promotes responsibility and structure, but also provides security for the child.

Can divorced fathers protect their child’s inheritance?

Minnesota fathers who are divorced or are unmarried still retain the right to pass on an inheritance to their children. In some cases, a father's children might have reached adulthood and have gotten married. However, a divorced father might feel apprehensive about leaving their married child an inheritance, since inherited assets can sometimes be divided up in a divorce. Fortunately, fathers have options to help keep their child's inheritance safe.

As Findlaw points out, inheritances are not at risk in a divorce so long as the inheritance was not comingled with marital property. Even though someone might receive an inheritance during marriage, an inheritance is still counted as separate property. However, if a person inherits a sum of money and deposits it in a joint account, that money is typically counted as marital property from that point forward. Fathers can discuss with their children what to do to make sure their inheritance is not counted as marital property.

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