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Saint Paul Family Law Blog

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.

The facts about paying child support from jail

When Minnesota parents pay child support, they may think they will always be able to afford these payments. If a parent goes to jail, however, he or she may not be able to pay child support.

Many people may think that if they are in jail, they do not need to worry about paying child support. CNN says this is not always the case and sometimes the payments accumulate while a parent is in jail. This is because many states do not see incarceration the same way they view unemployment. If a parent gets laid off from a job, he or she may ask to pay a lower amount in child support. Incarceration, however, is sometimes seen as a form of intentional unemployment and in this situation, people may not be able to request a modification to these payments. 

Fathers: Science shows the importance of your role

As a father, you know that you may have to face some forms of bias when you seek custody of your children. While it isn't fair, women are still made out to be better caregivers.

Bias shouldn't have a place in your case, and your attorney will do all they can to make sure you're not facing bias from the judge or others. However, having some helpful evidence on your side is a good choice.

Helping preschoolers process parental divorce

Parents in Minnesota who find themselves facing an impending divorce know that at some point they will need to break the news to their children. This may be one of the hardest conversations they will ever have but it must be done. What to say to a child about a divorce depends in large part on the child's age and stage of emotional development. When it comes to preschoolers, less can be more.

As explained by Today's Parent, children between two and five years old will need very basic and concrete explanations. Moms and dads should avoid discussing any problems between themselves and instead clearly and lovingly tell their children what to expect in their lives. For example, letting them know that they will still go to the same school and which parent will pick them up and which parent will drop them off is important for these youngsters.

Focusing on solutions with your former spouse

The good news is that you and your ex-spouse have committed to giving your child a structured upbringing in Minnesota. The bad news is that you are not sure how to handle disputes with your former wife or husband. There will almost certainly be differences in how you two will handle rearing your offspring, which can become bitter and unproductive if not handled correctly.

You may disagree strongly with how your ex handles taking care of your child. You might feel your child is misbehaving on account of having too much leniency while staying at the other parent’s home. Perhaps you feel your child is not getting homework done when appropriate, or is indulging in too much time watching television shows or playing video games.

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