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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

How a calendar may contain relevant information in a divorce

Among the bank statements, tax returns and other documents people in Minnesota may gather in preparation for divorce, they might be surprised to learn that a calendar can be useful as well. If they are parents, the calendar can help them reconstruct scheduling, activities and expenses over the past year. The calendar can also provide information about lifestyle during the marriage, which can be used in calculating spousal support payments.

Examples of expenses parents often forget about and that can be retrieved by looking at the calendar include the costs of traveling out of town for children's sporting events and the cost of gifts for the birthday parties that children attend. Parents might also be reminded of when they took children to therapists or doctors. The calendar might provide some insight into how much time each parent spends with the children, which is also relevant for custody and support.

How parents can work together after a divorce

Minnesota parents should work toward a functional relationship even after they get a divorce. This is important for the well-being of their children. Focusing on the children can be an excellent way for the estranged couple to set aside their differences.

Despite no longer being together, parents may want to consider couples' counseling. At least a few sessions early on may help them come to some agreements about expectations related to sharing custody. This can create a more stable environment for children. When parents do need to meet to talk about child-related issues, they should try to pick a neutral territory. The house they formerly shared may bring up too many difficult emotions. Instead, parents may want to try to meet in a pleasant public location, such as a cafe or a park.

Successful co-parenting after a divorce

After parents in Minnesota get divorced, they may have continuing feelings of bitterness toward each other. Parents need to understand that how they act to each other can have a positive or negative impact on their children as they grow up.

Research has demonstrated that children who grow up after divorce with parents who can successfully co-parent are much better adjusted as adults than children whose parents are in constant conflict with each other. Parents should set their bitter feelings aside and work together to raise their children in a healthy, positive, and happy way.

Dame Dash child support dispute reportedly settled

Some Dame Dash fans in Minnesota may have read about the producer and rapper's child support disputes. In November, he was arrested for unpaid child support. Reportedly, he owed $950,000 to two different women. He has one child by each of them.

When he was released, he said he had paid his bill, but allegedly, the issue was not settled until December 3. Dash had filed a $5 million lawsuit against Lee Daniels, a director and producer to whom he had given more than $1 million as an investment in a film. The website TMZ reports that as part of the settlement, Daniels will pay $950,000 back to the two women in quarterly installments instead of to Dash.

Sole custody could be awarded to fathers in Minnesota

Although many men worry about unspoken bias in the court system, the truth is that dads can get full custody of their children under certain circumstances. Normally, the courts do prefer to award joint custody, because it gives both parents the right to see their children. Joint legal custody also gives both parents rights when making decisions for their children.

To obtain sole custody, there must be a good reason to limit interaction with the other parent. For example, if there was abuse in your relationship, then there may be a good reason to award sole custody. Sole custody may also be awarded if one parent is in prison or under other circumstances.

Gender shouldn't matter in custody cases

Traditionally, mothers have been given custody of their children after a divorce. This has caused fathers in Minnesota and elsewhere to wonder if they are given a fair shake in their custody cases. Fathers are supposed to be granted joint or sole custody of a child if that would be in the minor's best interests. Of course, it is possible that a judge may have outdated notions about a father's ability to take care of a child.

Therefore, fathers are encouraged to learn more about their rights and to assert them during a child custody hearing. Ideally, parents will work together to create a parenting plan prior to a hearing. Furthermore, both parents should have a reasonable ability to communicate about issues that could impact their child. Finally, parents should show that they have a strong relationship with their children.

Child support dispute between Michael Strahan and ex-wife

Minnesota fans of former football player and current "Fox NFL Sunday" co-host Michael Strahan may have heard that he is currently involved in a dispute with his ex-wife about back child support for their 14-year-old twin daughters. In their initial divorce settlement in 2006, his wife received $15.3 million, and he agreed to pay $18,000 per month in child support. In 2009, the amount was modified to $13,000.

His ex-wife now says that his monthly support payment should be increased to more than $18,000 monthly and that he can afford it based on his salary. Strahan's reply said that their agreement did allow for adjustments based on cost of living, but he said they were not clear about how to determine when such an adjustment should be made.

When parents are unable to pay child support

In Minnesota, child support orders are based on the parents' income. A non-custodial parent or even a parent who shares custody may be ordered to pay child support to the other parent in order to support the child's lifestyle and standard of living. However, those orders are based on a snapshot of a time when the order is put into place. Of course, a parent's lifestyle can change over time. In particular, parents may suffer financial hardship as a result of a job loss, disability or unexpected illness. They may find themselves unable to pay their child support bills and rack up unrepayable debt.

Child support debt can cause serious damage to a parent's life. It often cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, despite the hardship a parent may be experiencing. In addition, parents may face wage garnishment; they may be unable to receive a passport, and some even face jail time. For parents struggling with financial problems and poverty, this can make the situation even more desperate. However, parents who cannot pay are not locked into a child support order issued at a better financial time. They can return to court to seek a modification of the child support assessment.

Recognizing signs of parental alienation

When you split from your romantic partner and your child’s other parent in Minnesota, it makes sense that there might be some bad blood between the two of you. While this is not uncommon, in especially contentious cases, you may begin to develop concerns about your child’s other parent attempting to turn him or her against you. At Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we recognize that, in some cases, one parent’s efforts to turn a shared child against the other can constitute parental alienation, which is a dangerous behavior that can have a substantial and negative effect on your child.

Per Psychology Today, parental alienation can manifest when one parent makes it seem to a shared child that he or she has to “choose sides,” meaning the offending parent actually encourages the shared child’s rejection of the other parent. Parental alienation can also take on many other forms, and it does not always look the same from one family to the next.

Can I keep my children from my ex for not paying child support?

It can be a challenge for many custodial parents to receive child support in Minnesota and elsewhere. Despite a court order for child support being in place, your ex might not be paying what he or she is supposed to pay. This can understandably be frustrating and create a financial hardship. If you are not getting child support, it can be tempting to take matters into your own hands, but what are the repercussions to this?

A common response to not getting child support is to withhold visitation of the children. Many parents justify that if their ex is not paying, he or she should not get to see the children. They may think that by withholding visitation, the noncustodial parent will decide to start paying again. However, as FindLaw cautions, there are legal consequences to withholding visitation. If your parenting arrangements were outlined in your divorce decree, you would be violating a court order by not allowing your ex to see the kids, and you could be held in contempt of court. This may result in unfavorable actions, such as a modification to your custody agreement and even losing custody of your children.

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