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Maple Grove Family Law Blog

What the child support process looks like for your MN family

One hesitation that many Maple Grove families may have about beginning the divorce process is how the details of child support and child custody will affect their family. Child support is a financial amount awarded from one parent to the other parent who has primary physical custody. This amount is determined by a variety of factors, but it is awarded with the best interests of the child in mind. Everyday expenses of raising a child are typically shared expenses by Minnesota parents, regardless of whether or not they are living together.

That is why child support is so important for meeting the financial obligations that raising a child requires. It helps to pay for basic necessities like food, shelter and clothes. But it also allows children to participate in after-school activities and to partake in other activities. Because parents splitting up can be a big adjustment, keeping the rest of their life as constant as possible can help to ease the child into the split-parenting transition.

Surrogacy in Minnesota handled by child custody, other agreements

Minnesota is among one of theU.S. states that does not currently have any laws governing surrogacy. Surrogacy is the act of carrying and giving birth to another person's child, by means of implementation. Those who seek surrogacy option are often unable to conceive or carry a child until full-term. Currently, those seeking surrogacy in MN often look to family law and other contracts to dictate the process.

However, lobbyists have stepped up to argue against the legitimacy of surrogacy in the state. Some proponents say that it is 'renting a womb' and therefore shouldn't be allowed. However, those who have sought surrogacy as a way to grow their family beg to differ. One in eight couples has a hard time conceiving, and surrogacy may be the way to solve their problem.

What to do financially before filing for divorce

While going through a divorce is certainly an emotional affair, residents of Minnesota should try to think pragmatically, as going through a divorce is also a financial affair. The following are some steps a person considering divorce can take ahead of time to protect themselves financially.

First of all, a person thinking of filing for divorce should first take account of his or her assets. What property belongs to you separately, what belongs to your partner separately and what is shared between you as marital property? Gathering this information can help clarify the property division process, which could lead to a smoother divorce.

What is the 'best interests of the child' standard?

When it comes to making decisions regarding child custody and visitation, courts in Minnesota use the "best interests of the child" standard. There are a number of factors the court will consider when determining what is in the child's best interests.

First of all, the court may consider the child's physical and mental health needs, along with the child's religious and cultural needs. In addition, if the child has special needs that necessitate certain care arrangements, this may also be considered. In addition, if the child is of a sufficient age to express a reasonable opinion as to what child custody and visitation he or she would like, this may be considered.

Child custody and unmarried parents in Minnesota

Not every relationship between a couple in Minnesota is meant to last, even if the couple has a child. If a child is born to unmarried parents who are no longer together as a couple, it is often the case that the child's mother is granted sole physical custody. However, if the child's father takes some sort of action to preserve his custody and visitation rights, he can still be a part of his child's life. Many times child custody decisions in such cases hinges on who was the child's primary caretaker and what is in the best interests of the child.

One thing that unmarried parents caught in a custody dispute have on their side is that, unlike divorcing parents, they are not facing other divorce legal issues such as alimony or property division. When the issue before the court is primarily that of child custody, it may simplify the proceedings so that a fair decision can be made in an efficient manner.

A parent's finances may be frozen if they don't pay child support

It is extremely important that parents in Minnesota who owe child support fulfill their obligations, and pay what they owe on time and in full. After all, the parent receiving child support needs these funds to pay for the costs of raising the child; thus, if there is a failure to pay, it is ultimately the child who suffers.

Moreover, there are penalties for failing to pay child support. For example, one's financial assets could be levied or seized. In Minnesota, a paying parent's financial assets may be levied or seized if he or she is in arrears over five times what he or she owes in monthly child support payments, is or potentially will be subject to a tax offset at either the state or federal level,or is not in compliance with a written child support plan that has the approval of either the child support office, a child support magistrate or the court.

January sees an uptick in divorce filings

The New Year is a popular time to resolve and change your life for the better. For some, this means getting into shape, for others it means cutting back on bad habits, like smoking. And for those in unhappy marriages, 2017 may be the year that they decide to end their union and seek a divorce, so they can move forward with their life in a more positive fashion.

In fact, Maple Grove residents seeking a divorce may find that there is a line at their attorney's office. This is because January has come to be known as "divorce month." According to MarketWatch statistics, every January the number of people filing for divorce goes up by one-third.

What is the difference between legal and physical child custody?

One of the first questions parents in Minnesota may have when they decide to divorce is who will have custody of their child. Custody, however, is more complicated than just deciding where the child will live.

According to Minnesota law, child custody falls under two umbrellas. The first is "legal custody." Legal custody consists of the right to make key life decisions with regards to the child. For example, decisions about where the child will go to school, which doctor the child will see and what religion the child will practice are all decisions made by the parent or parents who have legal custody.

Representing Minnesotans in paternity actions

It happens sometimes in Minnesota that there is a question as to who a child's father is. However, if a man is unwed to the child's mother, believes he is the child's father and wants to pursue rights to his child, he needs to establish paternity. If not, he could unwittingly relinquish his rights to the child. That is when it is important to have an attorney by one's side, such as those at the law office of Terzich & Ort, LLP.

Through a paternity action, legal fatherhood can be established in cases where the child's purported father was not married to the child's mother. Believe it or not, both the child's mother and the purported father can either allege the man is the child's biological father or can deny that this is the case.

Facts and statistics on child support in Minnesota

While the holiday season is all about the children for some, supporting and caring for a child is a year-long endeavor for parents. Well after the presents have been opened and the New Year has been rung in, children still need the financial support of both parents. In Minnesota, for parents who are divorced or are no longer in a relationship with one another, this means one parent may be paying child support.

In Minnesota, the county and state child support offices provide services for over 360,000 parents and over 250,000 children. The child support program's mission is to promote each child's well-being and allow families to be self-sufficient. In fact, in 2015 the amount of ongoing child support in the state collected amounted to $454 million, which represented 73 percent of what was owed.

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