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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Keep on top of your finances

As a father, you have a unique and important role in your child's life. Exactly how you decide to fulfill all of your responsibilities is up to you, but it may help to know that things often become much easier for our clients once they are able to gain some measure of control over their finances. At Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we work to put fathers in a legal position where they have access to their children — but having a plan for money could be just as important.

Just because the standard of living often goes up for men after divorce does not mean that is necessarily the case for you. Perhaps there was no divorce involved. Maybe you were never married to the mother of your child in the first place. Whatever your situation is, following a few financial principles could guide you through an easier and more rewarding fatherhood experience.

Tracking your expenses can help with child support issues

Making purchases is a common part of everyday life, so common that it is easy to forget about when, where or even what we have purchased from day to day. However, for Minnesota parents who receive or pay child support, keeping a record of purchases may take on greater importance. Fatherly explains that documenting and tracking your expenses could be crucial if you ever have to renegotiate child support, among other matters.

There are a few instances where documenting what you spend on your children can be of great assistance. If your ex-spouse suspects you are not spending support money on the children, you can prove you are spending the money in good faith. Also, if you are paying support and have recently been demoted or lost your job completely, you want to prove you have been doing your best to provide for your children and that you are not trying to falsely claim financial hardship to get out of support payments.

What is paternity fraud?

As a father in Minnesota, you have certain rights as a parent. Outside of these rights, you also have responsibilities, such as continuing to help care for a child in the event of a divorce. This is where paternity fraud can come in and affect your life. But what exactly is paternity fraud?

The National Institutes of Health have taken a look at paternity fraud, which is considered by some to be a mild epidemic in America currently. Paternity fraud is, in essence, the false claim that you are the father of a child when you aren't. This is usually done by a mother in the event of a divorce in which child support payments are to be made. Under law, only the legal father of a child is obligated to pay child support. Thus, in order to secure that money, it's possible for the mother to lie about paternity status. It's also possible for paternity fraud to occur unintentionally, if the mother genuinely does not know you aren't the father.

Children deserve both parents

Divorces in Minnesota often center on child custody agreements. These sensitive matters, along with property division, typically form the core issues at the end of a marriage. This atmosphere has the potential to cause a decent amount of posturing by one side or another, but the court systems tend to maintain a focus on the best interest of the child. 

The prevailing viewpoint is that children benefit from having both parents in their lives. Until significant scientific evidence comes to light that casts doubt on this general presumption, it is unlikely for courts to favor so-called sole custody agreements.

3 tips to help your kids during divorce

When children have to go through their parents' divorce, it's hard on them. They have to deal with the stress of the situation, and they may not yet have the tools to do so effectively. During divorces, children often lash out or act differently than normal, and that is largely due to the changes radically altering the lives they knew.

Every divorce is different, just as every person going through one will have different experiences. Here are a few things to do if you want to help your child get through a divorce more easily.

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.

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