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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

How does remarriage affect your child?

It is common for fathers to end up as the non-custodial parent in Minnesota. You get visitation time with your children, but you probably also spend a lot of time alone. It is no surprise that you may start dating and even begin to think about getting remarried. However, a new spouse will change your household dynamic and can negatively impact the relationship you have with your kids. 

HealthyChildren.org notes there are many emotional issues that can come up for children when you decide to get remarried. To help avoid common issues, you should talk with your children about the situation. Explain what may change, and get their input. Encourage complete honesty. Let them know your relationship may change a little, but also let them know that you still value the time you have with them. Make an effort to not let your new marriage overshadow your visitation.

What are some statistics on child support?

If you are new to getting or paying child support in Minnesota, you may wonder about how it works. While the court will set the details and you will go through the state to get or make payments, there is a lot of information out there about how it really works. This includes information on whether you are getting or paying a lot more than other people, how many deadbeat parents there really are and how much money the state is pocketing on every payment made.

The Spruce reported on statistics for child support in the United States based on a 2016 report. Of the 13.4 million single parents in the country who have custody of their children, around 49 percent have a child support agreement, but only about a quarter of those ask for assistance from the government to collect the support due to them. Most of these parents are mothers with only around 31 percent being fathers. 

What are the types of custody?

When you go to court to settle custody in Minnesota, there are generally two types of custody that will be determined. According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, these are physical and legal custody. You could be awarded one, both or none. It depends on what the court finds is in the best interest of the child. 

Physical custody is awarded to the parent who the children will live with the majority of the time. If you are granted physical custody, you get the right to make day-to-day decisions about your children. Legal custody, on the other hand, is when you get the right to make decisions on how your child is raised. 

Ease your stress with a parenting agreement

When you decide to divorce, you know that your life will change in many ways. This is definitely true if you have at least one child with the other person.

Although you want to do what's in the best interest of your child, this doesn't mean you'll be able to avoid a custody dispute. There's always a chance this could come to light, especially if you and the other parent are fighting for the same things.

How to introduce your new partner to your children

Many fathers in Minnesota may think now that the divorce is final, the tough stuff is behind them. However, the reality is the hard things do not stop there. Most now-single fathers will begin to date, and at some point in a new relationship, it will be time to introduce the new partner to the children. This can be a sticky situation, and it must be handled properly to avoid problems that could plague a relationship with both the kids and the partner.

The Huffington Post notes all single fathers should take the introduction of a new partner and their children seriously. It is essential to consider everyone's feelings. A father should discuss the new relationship with his children before they ever meet the new partner. The first meeting should be kept light and casual so everyone can feel comfortable. It should be kept short, too. 

What if you have no income and are ordered to pay child support?

Parents who do not have custody of their children and who live separately from them will typically be ordered by the Minnesota court to pay child support. If you are a parent paying support, you may be concerned about what happens if you lose your job. If you have no income, what happens to your child support obligation?

The Spruce explains that regardless of your income, you must honor the child support order of the court. The court ordered you to pay this money to help support your child. Think of it this way: if you and the child's mother were still together, you would still have to figure out how to buy food, pay rent and handle all the other day-to-day expenses. The same is true now. You still have to support your child, so if you fail to pay your support, it becomes a debt. 

How to get through the holidays as a blended family

One of the biggest challenges after a divorce is helping your children adjust to having two different homes. As time goes on, you and your child's other parent may remarry, which introduces stepparents, stepsiblings and possibly half-siblings. This can make the holidays a nightmare, but it does not have to. You should take time to plan ahead so you can make this holiday season as a blended family something everyone can enjoy.

Operation: Parent suggests mapping out the holiday schedules ahead of time so everyone knows what to expect. This will also allow you, the child's other parent and extended families to know who will be where and when. As you create the schedules, though, be willing to bend a little. Not everyone can have the kids on the exact holiday. You may need to celebrate the day before or even the weekend before. Keep in mind the real holiday is when everyone can be together.

How to handle vaccine arguments with your ex

Divorced couples in Minnesota have many issues that remain after the papers are signed. This is especially true if they have children. The anti-vaccination movement has begun to have an effect of divorced couples who each stand on either side of the issue. When parents disagree about vaccinating their children, it can create a sticky legal situation.

According to Fox News, vaccination arguments between divorced parents may lead to the courtroom. A recent story about a divorced couple who disagreed about vaccinating their child did go to court where the judge sided with the father who wanted the child vaccinated. The mother, who had custody, refused to follow the order. As a result, she was put in jail and the father received temporary custody of the child.

Are medical expenses part of child support?

Are medical expenses part of child support?

If you are a Minnesota parent who is divorced from your children’s other parent, your divorce decree may contain a medical support provision setting forth which of you is to provide medical support for your children. Usually this provision has to do with which of you is to carry your children on your insurance plan.

What is a parent education class?

If you are a Minnesota parent going through a divorce, you no doubt are concerned about your children. You may be apprehensive about how they will handle what is sure to be a very difficult time for them as their family breaks up. You and your spouse may have serious disagreements about how to rear them.

As explained by the Minnesota Judicial Branch, Minnesota Statute 518.157 requires you and your spouse to attend a parent education class prior to going to court to finalize your divorce. The court has certified three such programs as follows:

  1. Co-Parenting 101 offered through Ellie Family Services
  2. Parenting Kids Through Divorce offered through the Ramsey County Co-Parenting Program
  3. The Co-Parenting Program offered through Headway Emotional Health Services
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