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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

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.

Modifying a custody agreement: never easy, sometimes necessary

Modifying a child custody agreement in Minnesota is not an easy task, and that is by design. The parties to a divorce, their attorneys and the courts cooperate to create an agreement that protects parental rights while serving the best interest of the child. Nevertheless, at Huson Law Firm we know that life is subject to constant change, and an alteration to your circumstances, which may be beyond your control, can necessitate a change to an existing child custody agreement. 

According to FindLaw, there are complex grounds for modifying a custody agreement, but some generalities include an emergency situation that puts the child at risk, a positive improvement for a child or a change in one or both parents' circumstances. More specifically, you may receive a job transfer to a position in another state, making it difficult if not impossible to fulfill the terms of the current arrangement, or you may have reason to believe that child abuse is taking place in the other parent's home, putting your child in danger. Whatever the circumstances, there must be a legitimate reason for the modification, and you must never seek one out of spite or malice. 

More moms paying child support

If you and your spouse in Minnesota are discussing a separation or a divorce and you have minor children together, you know that you will somehow have to figure out how to raise your kids together while no longer being married. One component to raising kids is paying for them and their associated needs. This may mean that one of you will be required to make child support payments.

In prior generations, it was all but expected that a divorced father would pay child support as well as spousal support. Today, however, that is not necessarily always the case. MarketWatch reports that in 2018, the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers released findings from a study that showed more than half of all attorneys surveyed had seen an increase in the number of mothers ordered to pay child support payments after a divorce than in prior years.

Can DNA testing help me find my child?

If you have been separated from your child in Minnesota, you may have wondered if DNA testing may help you find them. DNA testing has grown in popularity over recent years and many people take the test for different reasons. Some people are looking for medical history, particularly if they are unfamiliar with one or both sides of their biological family. Some others may wish to learn more about their racial and ethnic makeup or are just curious.

The good news is that this fascination with genetics may have resulted in your own child seeking a DNA test. According to Forbes, all DNA-testing companies draw from one unique database. This helps to make it possible for people to find not just their long-lost children, but other relatives they may have otherwise never met.

What does child support cover?

If a Minnesota court ordered you to pay child support, you may wonder, like many other payees, what, exactly, child support covers. You may also assume that child support only covers the essentials such as food, clothing and shelter. Unfortunately, you would assume wrong.

According to FindLaw, child support covers a wide range of expenses. Those expenses fall into two main categories: basic expenses and additional considerations.

Could Alabama father's rights case change things in Minnesota?

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears a case, its impact is felt throughout the country regardless of where it originated. This is important when it comes to an Alabama case where a father is suing an abortion clinic for aborted his unborn child. This case could have an impact in Minnesota on father's rights in the case of an abortion.

Currently, according to Fox News, the prevailing opinion is that the father has no rights to an unborn child and any decisions a mother makes regarding that unborn child. So, if a mother wants to get an abortion, she does not need the permission of the father. In fact, she doesn't even have to tell him she is doing it.

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