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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

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

How is paternity established?

When a child is born in Minnesota, it is obvious you are the mother, but trouble can occur when identifying the legal father. According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, paternity must be established for a few reasons. It gives the father rights to the child, allows him to be on the birth certificate and makes the child eligible for any medical insurance the father may have. For mothers, paternity must be established to get child support.

You may know who the father of your baby is. You may even be in a relationship with him. However, if you are not married to him, then he is not the legal father of your child. Furthermore, if you are not married, then there is no presumed paternity. Even if you put the father's name on the birth certificate, this does not establish legal rights to the child. You have sole custody until paternity is legally established. You can file a Recognition of Parentage with the biological father to secure his legal rights to the child. 

Is my marriage valid? Can I get an annulment?

Most couples who decide to end their marriages in Minnesota need to file for divorce. However, a rare few couples may not be in legally valid marriages. If your marriage is not legally valid -- for any number of reasons -- you may be able to get your marriage annulled.

Annulments are not common, and they're not possible for most Minnesota spouses. However, if your situation falls under one of the following categories, you might want to consider annulment as an option.

Things to remember in your parenting plan

Creating a parenting plan in Minnesota can be confusing, especially when you are trying to remember what needs to be included and ensure that all necessary topics are covered. We at the Huson Law Firm have created this guide to provide some of the most important tips to keep in mind as you create your parenting plan and determine your family's future.

According to the Minnesota state court system, it is important to remember that your custody arrangement will not be assumed in your parenting plan. You do not need to state that you are creating a certain schedule to comply with the designation of sole or joint physical or legal custody; instead, you should determine a plan with adequate parenting time that all involved parties can agree to follow. While you do need to consider the custody designation the court has given you, most parents with sole custody will still be required to allow the other parent an acceptable amount of parenting time.

Do you have recourse as a victim of paternity fraud?

If you are a Minnesota father and you believe you have been a victim of paternity fraud, you may be wondering whether you have any legal recourse. Paternity fraud occurs when you are made to mistakenly believe you are the father of a child by the child’s mother, who may have suspicions or know for certain that you are not, in fact, the true biological father.

The Spruce reports that, as a victim of paternity fraud, you may end up paying child support for years for a child who is not, in fact, your biological child. Once you become aware of the fact that you are not actually the child’s father, you may want to see what you can do to stop paying child support, get back some or all of what you already paid, or both. To start the process, the first step typically involves filing an action to halt or attempt to collect back child support in a civil court.

Legal grounds for changing a Minnesota child support order

Whether you are paying or receiving child support in Minnesota, a time may come when you need to modify your existing agreement for some reason or another. At the Huson Law Firm, PLLC, we have a firm understanding of the circumstances that may warrant a change in a child support order, and we have helped many clients navigate the process involved in doing so.

Per LawHelpMN.org, if you are attempting to change the amount of child support you currently pay or receive, you must typically prove that there has been a change in circumstances that make the existing amount no longer fair. For example, if you are paying a certain amount in child support and you have now started to receive public assistance, this may warrant a change to your current child support order. You may, too, be able to pursue a change in a child support order if you or the other parent are now making considerably more or less money than you were when the order was initially enacted.

Can a custodial parent move out of state with the children?

Moving your children out of Minnesota is a major change in their lives and has a great effect on their other parent. It requires careful consideration and the court's involvement. According to The Office of the Revisor of Statutes, if you plan to take your children outside of the state to live, you must get the permission of the court. You may be able to bypass going to court if you get the permission of your children's other parent. This would need to be in a signed document detailing the move. Leaving without such permission could subject you to serious legal complications.

The court will review your request for validity and in consideration of the effect it will have on the children. You must have a solid and verifiable reason for moving. If it is found you are moving simply to interfere with the visitation rights of the other parent, the court will deny your request, and you cannot move your children out of the state.

Study: Joint custody may be best for children

Children whose parents choose to terminate their marriage may negotiate a parenting plan that ends in either sole custody or joint custody of the child. Although one parent may want to have sole custody and keep the child the majority of the time, studies show that this may not be the best option for kids. Researchers have found that in most cases, children who live in a joint custody household may have advantages over kids who are raised in a sole custody arrangement.

A meta-analysis, which was published in Journal of Family Psychology, evaluated 33 studies and found that kids are better adjusted when they are able to spend a significant amount of time with both parents. Researchers followed kids in sole-custody, joint-custody and intact family relationships and discovered that kids who are able to spend time with both parents had higher self-esteem, fewer behavior problems, better family relationships, did better at school and had fewer emotional disturbances.

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