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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

Are there educational opportunities for single fathers?

Single and divorced fathers across Minnesota know that financial independence is important to giving their children a good life, and one of the ways to achieve it is to complete a college education or earn a degree in a profession that they can succeed in. However, a solid education costs money, and many fathers are financially strapped. A good scholarship could provide the answer, but they are not easy to find, not unless you know where to look.

U.S. News and World Report provides some tips for fathers looking for educational opportunities. One of the ways is to seek scholarships that are connected to whatever you want to study. If you are interested in the biological sciences, there are scholarships offered for just that field. The same is true for any industry whether it be astronomy, engineering, math, technology, or a medical profession.

Does delinquent child support harm your credit?

Many people understand that a failure to pay child support runs the risk of wage garnishments, seizures of tax refunds, or even property liens to pay off the outstanding support. However, delinquent child support can harm your long term financial future in other ways. In fact, failing to pay Minnesota child support can be noted on your credit report and inflict great damage to your credit score.

Nerdwallet warns that credit bureaus record outstanding child support payments in your credit file. So when you fail to make support payments, those delinquent payments will be recorded as part of your credit report. Some state agencies will report you if you rack up more than a thousand dollars in missed support payments. Overdue payments after six months will end up reported to a collection agency.

Unspoken bias: How fathers fare in the judicial system

One of the things you've probably been told by at least one person is that there is a bias against fathers in court. The reality is that there may have been a bias in the past, but parents are equal in the eyes of the court today. The perception used to be that fathers worked and mothers stayed home, so it would be better to keep children with their mothers. Essentially, this wouldn't disturb the status quo.

However, as times have changed, so have gender roles. With more men staying home with children and both parents being likely to have jobs and share responsibilities, it makes sense to treat both mothers and fathers fairly in court. After all, both parents played a role in creating this child or raising this child, so there shouldn't be an automatic bias in favor of one over the other.

How to give your child structured upbringing after a divorce

The Bench & Bar of Minnesota website lists twelve factors that were recently put in place to define the “best interests of a child.” One of those twelve factors is the ability of parents to cooperate in raising their child. For divorced parents who share custody of their child, cooperation becomes even more important. Giving your child a stable, structured upbringing can make the child custody experience more positive and provide your child with a healthy and stable life.

Psychology Today recommends that divorced spouses create a parenting scheme that governs the child consistently no matter which home the child is staying in. These rules include when the child goes to bed, what the child eats, the child’s daily chores, the times to do schoolwork, and rules for leisure like watching television or using a computer. A consistent scheme not only promotes responsibility and structure, but also provides security for the child.

Can divorced fathers protect their child’s inheritance?

Minnesota fathers who are divorced or are unmarried still retain the right to pass on an inheritance to their children. In some cases, a father's children might have reached adulthood and have gotten married. However, a divorced father might feel apprehensive about leaving their married child an inheritance, since inherited assets can sometimes be divided up in a divorce. Fortunately, fathers have options to help keep their child's inheritance safe.

As Findlaw points out, inheritances are not at risk in a divorce so long as the inheritance was not comingled with marital property. Even though someone might receive an inheritance during marriage, an inheritance is still counted as separate property. However, if a person inherits a sum of money and deposits it in a joint account, that money is typically counted as marital property from that point forward. Fathers can discuss with their children what to do to make sure their inheritance is not counted as marital property.

How do you get a driver's license back from child support courts?

If you were to receive a notice that the court was suspending your license due to an arrearage on your child support payments, then your first reaction might be panic. However, the situation might not be as dire as it seems at first. Minnesota law could provide a way to delay or prevent the suspension of your license and the placement of a lien on the equity you hold in your vehicle. 

The first thing you should note is that this is not a primary penalty for child support non-payment in the state. The court would only take action towards your driving privileges if you owed more than three times the amount of your monthly support payment. The best solution to this problem, if at all possible, would probably for you to prevent the amount you owe from rising above this threshold. 

Calculating child support in a Minnesota divorce

When parents choose to file for divorce in Minnesota, they must attend to a host of issues regarding the children involved in the marriage. One of the most important may be that of child custody and child support. States may adopt different models of calculating child support based on the parents’ income, time spent with the child and several other factors. Minnesota uses an income shares model of calculating child support, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. This is built off the belief that children should have the same financial support that they would have had if their parents would have stayed married.

Using this model, the child support is calculated off of both parents’ income, rather than just the non-custodial parents’ income like in some other states. Once this figure is determined, a percentage of the parents’ combined income is set as child support. Minnesota has a child support guideline chart that indicates the amount of base child support due, taking into consideration the number of children, as well as the parents’ gross income.

Modifying a child support agreement in times of need

Minnesota law is quite liberal when it comes to child support, even though it may not seem so at times. This is because, at the heart of the law, there is a desire for kids to have the economic support they need to develop into healthy members of society. However, the court also takes the needs of the parents into consideration.

It is not uncommon for a divorced parent to experience a change in financial and economic status after a marriage ends. These changes are not always for the better. If an individual were to fall on hard times, there could be a way to keep up with child support obligations and other responsibilities without lapsing on one or the other. 

Do courts penalize working parents in custody hearings?

One of the many questions parents in Minnesota have about divorce is whether they will be penalized in custody hearings for their work schedule. The more time a parent spends at work is less time the parent can spend at home with a child. If a parent has a full-time professional career, a judge might award more custody time to the other parent simply because the other parent has more time for the children.

According to the Huffington Post, judges in many custody hearings are interested in learning who the parent is that is the most involved with the child’s life. This could be either a father or a mother. If that parent served as the primary caretaker before the divorce, the court may choose to have that parent retain that role by awarding the parent the majority of custody time. This is not always the case, as some courts may decide on an even custody split between the two parents regardless.

5 ways for dads to make a good impression on the court

For men who worry that they'll be at a disadvantage in custody cases, the good news is that there are ways to make a good impression on the court. By following a few helpful tips, you can show you are invested in your child and that you respect the court and judge.

Here are five different things you can do to prepare for court and give off a first impression you can be proud of. Your attorney can help you prepare, so you are ready for your custody hearing.

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