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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Not all accusations of abuse are true

Nobody can effectively argue that domestic violence is not a problem in Minnesota and the rest of the United States. Abusive spouses and parents threaten the safety of their partners and children every day. However, we at the Huson Law Firm, PLLC, are also aware that some people make false accusations of abuse. You may be interested in learning how a false accusation of abuse can affect you in a family law dispute.

As Verywell Mind explains, those who make false domestic violence accusations against their partners do so for numerous reasons. Often, one spouse wrongfully claims the other has been abusive throughout the marriage, in hopes to gain full custody of the children during a divorce. You may have experienced your partner being angry with you and hoping to get revenge by claiming to law enforcement, your employer or friends and family that you abuse him or her. It is also possible for a spouse to interpret the other’s yelling or blocking during an argument as domestic violence, even if no harm was inflicted or intended.

Study: The benefits of joint custody

Going through a divorce can be an emotional process, especially when there are children involved. Although parents may want to shield their children from experiencing the heartache of divorce, children are often the unwilling participants of a marital separation. Determining child custody may be one of the most difficult duties of the divorce process. While children may be used to living with both parents, it can be hard for children to adjust to a single-parent household. However, studies show the clear benefits of a joint-custody arrangment. 

The study, published in the Journal of Family Psychology, looked at children who were raised in joint-custody, single-parent and traditional family situations. Researchers found that kids who lived in joint-custody households had higher self-esteem, stronger family relationships and exhibited fewer emotional and behavioral problems. Furthermore, the difference of children living in a traditional family scenerio and a joint-custody family were minimal compared to that of a sole-custody situation. 

Alternative dispute resolution can help you resolve conflicts

When a marriage is ending, there are often hurt feelings and regrets. People may feel guilty or be angry. At such a trying time, it's no wonder that there are often disputes.

While disputes can be frustrating and time-consuming, it is possible to resolve them if you and your spouse are in agreement that you want to avoid a trial. Through alternative dispute resolution, it's possible to address problems without having to turn to a judge for help.

How does joint custody benefit your child?

As divorcing parents in Minnesota, you must make a lot of tough decisions about how you will handle parenting after the split. Though some parents are in difficult situations that make sharing joint custody hard or even impossible, it is generally advocated to go with that option if it's reasonable to do so. But why is there so much support for joint custody?

The American Psychological Association published an article in 2002 stating that joint custody may be the best option for the children in a divorce. Studies were conducted that compared the mental and emotional well-being of the children of sole custody situations against the children of joint custody situations. Of those groups, it was the children of joint custody who showed more stability, fewer problems in school, and less difficulty making social adjustments. They were also shown to have higher self-esteem and fewer emotional or behavioral problems.

What happens if I fall behind on my child support payments?

Child support exists to meet children’s physical and emotional needs after their parents split up. However, for many paying parents in Minnesota, meeting their child support obligations can create a financial hardship. You may be concerned about the legal consequences if you do not pay child support.

Contrary to popular belief, not all parents who fall behind on child support payments do not care about their children. In many cases, they simply cannot afford the amount set for them. However, there are serious consequences to falling into arrears with child support, explains the Minnesota Department of Human Services. After several weeks or months of nonpayment, you may experience the following:

  • Being held in contempt of court
  • Receiving a negative impact on your credit report
  • Seizure of financial assets or levies on your properties
  • Suspension of your driver’s, occupational and recreational licenses
  • Getting a hold on your passport or student grants
  • Interception of your state and federal tax refunds

How can mediation help with child custody matters?

Whether you are currently going through a divorce or you are considering starting the process, you may feel overwhelmed at the prospect of separation. While it may be better for your situation, dividing marital property, determining child custody and creating a parenting plan can be daunting. One of the most difficult issues to tackle is who will take care of the children and what type of parenting plan will work best for your family. Going through the mediation process can help to minimize the negative effects that divorce can have on raising your children together. 

When you attend a mediation session, you are joined by a third-party mediator who is present to direct the session and answer any questions you may have. The meeting takes place in a more casual, non-confrontational atmosphere compared to a traditional courtroom divorce. This allows parents to feel more ‘at ease’ and less defensive. The goal is to create a situation that is best for the children, and this calm environment is conducive to that process. 

What exactly are fathers’ rights?

You hear a lot about fathers’ rights nowadays. But if you are a Minnesota dad, you likely have questions about just what these are and how they affect you.

FindLaw explains that fathers’ rights refer to the legal rights you have with regard to your children. They include the following:

  • The right to establish legal paternity of your children if you were not married to their mother at the time of their birth
  • The right to have input into decisions about family planning, abortion, adoption, etc.
  • The right to have access to your children’s medical and school records
  • The right to take parental leave should you need it for child-related reasons such as a medical emergency
  • The right to have reasonable parenting time with your children in the event of a divorce
  • The right to obtain joint or full custody of your children in the event of a divorce

When your child’s other parent falls behind on child support

As a Minnesota single parent, day-to-day life can prove difficult in and of itself, but if you are expecting financial help from your child’s other parent and that person fails to deliver, it can be even more emotionally taxing. At Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that there are certain legal measures you may be able to take when you find yourself in this situation, and that the parent failing to pay support can wind up in serious trouble for neglecting to do so.

Per the Minnesota Department of Human Services, you may be able to request that your local child support office step in when your son or daughter’s other parent fails to abide by an established child support order. The office can take any number of different measures in its attempts to get your child’s parent to pay up, and some of these measures have the potential to threaten his or her personal or professional future.

Do fathers automatically have visitation rights?

As a father, your complete and valid recognition of parentage form does not automatically qualify you for visitation with your children. However, it is still an important document. Think about it this way: In Minnesota courts, your ROP would probably represent a starting point for custody and visitation discussions. It would not be the final word on the subject.

If you do not already have one of these forms signed by you and your co-parent, now may be a good time to do so. This is especially true if you believe that the mother of your child would be amenable to signing the form. Please continue reading for discussions of a few of the finer points of this subject.

Do you understand the murky "best interests" rule for custody?

Going through a divorce can be a frustrating and often confusing experience. It is hard to understand what will happen to you and your children. Everyone has heard a few horror stories about good parents who lose custody to a scheming former spouse in a contentious divorce. That can leave you worried and afraid of what the future could bring.

The good news is that biased and unfair outcomes are less common than the media would have you think. In fact, the courts tend to do the best they can to create a fair and reasonable resolution to custody disputes.

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