Uncategorized

Changes to Divorce Law in 2018

In my opinion, one of the most important changes to Minnesota divorce law in 2018 is the federal tax treatment of spousal maintenance. This occurred as part of the sweeping tax reform bill passed by congress and signed by the president in December, 2017. Keep in mind, the change will not go into effect until .. read more

31
Dec
posted in: Uncategorized by
Comments Off

MN Divorce and Taxes

With tax time coming, I am asked a lot of questions about divorce and taxes. Here are some things to keep in mind: 1. Transfers between spouses pursuant to a divorce decree are nontaxable. 2. Even if you are divorced, you can file a joint income tax return for the prior year if you were .. read more

16
Apr
posted in: Uncategorized by
Comments Off

Divorce Minnesota Style

There are some things about divorcing in Minnesota that are very predictable. There are some things about divorcing in Minnesota that are very unpredictable. Child Custody and Parenting Time: More often than not, the custody and parenting time arrangement resembles the parenting contributions of each party prior to the divorce. If one parent was clearly .. read more

In Divorce, You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know

A lot of times people call Fiskum Law, P.A., to ask whether they “need” a lawyer for their divorce proceeding.  My answer is usually “yes, you probably need a lawyer.”  That’s different than saying that you can afford to hire a lawyer.  I am not your banker and I do not know the answer to this question.  .. read more

The Role of Mediation in Minnesota Divorce

As I have written about in the past, mediation is an important component of the divorce process in Minnesota courts. There is also another process that is similar, but different. This process is known as “Early Neutral Evaluation.” What is the difference? In mediation, the role of the mediator is to help the parties reach .. read more

10 Things Divorcing Fathers Need to Know

If you are a father who is seeking custody of your children, or equal parenting time, etc., you need to know the following ten things: 1. The names of your children’s school teachers; 2. The names of your children’s doctors; 3. The names of your children’s best friends; 4. The names of your children’s pets; .. read more

25
Mar
Comments Off

Holiday Parenting Time in Minnesota

I am frequently asked questions about holiday parenting time and how that is allocated between divorced parents. Sometimes this can be a contentious issue, especially if one parent wants to bring the children to a family gathering that is out of state. Generally speaking, Minnesota courts try to allocate holiday parenting time fairly, keeping in .. read more

Superbowl and Divorce

Well, the 2011 Superbowl, the annual football game of the century, has finally come and gone and Green Bay is victorious.  Unfortunately, the Minnesota Vikings were again unavailable to play in the Superbowl this year, but since I have lots of friends in Wisconsin I’m glad they got to win it. So what does the .. read more

07
Feb
posted in: Uncategorized by

Something A Little Different

Hey everyone, I just thought I’d let you know that I am participating in the Cry America 5K run / walk fundraiser that will be held at Como Lake on Saturday, July 17, 2010.  Cry America is a charity that supports education and health care for children in India, and also supports Boys and Girls .. read more

16
Jul
posted in: Uncategorized by

MN Divorce, Fear and “Discovery”

I am a Minnesota divorce lawyer.  I practice divorce law in Hennepin County, Minnesota.  Divorce varies significantly from state to state, because it is pretty much a creation of state (not federal) law.  However, one thing that I think is common in all divorces, regardless of where they take place, is “fear.” One of the .. read more

Sandra Bullock’s Divorce

It is in People Magazine today, so it must be official: Sandra Bullock is filing for divorce.  Apparently she and her estranged husband Jesse James began adoption proceedings about four years ago, and just within the past few months brought their child home.  It is unusual for a divorce proceeding to emerge in the midst .. read more

Living Together Without Marriage

Occasionally someone will ask me about cohabitation in Minnesota.  “Cohabitation” is another way of saying “living together.” If you are thinking of moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend without getting married, here are some things to consider: If you are going to contribute towards payment of the mortgage, you should have something in writing .. read more

MN Divorce Attorney

The phrase “Minnesota Divorce Attorney” is one of the phrases googled most often by people in Minnesota who are considering a divorce.  I suppose this is appropriate because it does make it easy for someone to find a list of Minnesota divorce attorneys.  But my experience is that after making an inquiry or two, people often select an .. read more

Happy New Year

Hi Everyone– Today I don’t have any particularly profound comments about divorce in Minnesota.  I want to wish my friends, followers and clients a Happy New Year.  If you are one of my clients, you need to know that no matter how difficult your personal situation is at the moment, things do get better.  I’ve .. read more

31
Dec

MN Legal Separation and MN Divorce

Occasionally I am asked about the difference between a legal separation and a divorce.  As always, my comments on this blog pertain to Minnesota law only.  Though Minnesota family law is often similar to family law in other states, as often it is not.  There is no federal “family law,” and there very few federal .. read more

What If You Do Not Serve An Answer?

In Minnesota, a divorce Summons contains a formal notice that the person being served with the Summons and Petition has thirty (30) days in which to serve an Answer.  What happens if you do not serve an Answer?  The answer is simple: you lose.  An “Answer” is a formal pleading that is similar to the .. read more

What is “No Fault” Divorce in Minnesota

Minnesota is a “no fault” divorce state.  To the best of my knowledge, most, if not all states in the United States are no fault divorce states. What this means is that in a Minnesota divorce proceeding, one does not have to prove that the other spouse is at fault before a divorce can be granted.  .. read more

How Long Does It Take To Get Divorced in MN?

I am occasionally asked how long it takes to get divorced in Minnesota.  The answer is “It depends.”  It can take anywhere from about 6 weeks to a year and a half or more, depending upon whether the parties can cooperate, and depending upon the issues involved. First, in order to begin a divorce proceeding in .. read more

Modifying Divorce Decrees in Minnesota

In Minnesota, it is possible to modify certain parts of a divorce decree after the divorce is final.  A Minnesota divorce becomes “final” when the judge has signed the divorce Judgment and Decree (the full title of the document is “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree) and the .. read more

Child Support in Minnesota

People frequently ask me how the Minnesota child support laws work.  There is a new Minnesota child support law, because the old law was modified significantly in 2007.  Now, child support is calculated using the gross incomes of both parents.  But, that’s not the most significant change.  The most significant change is that the amount of child .. read more

How Do I Find Assets In Minnesota Divorce Proceedings?

When you get divorced in Minnesota, the Court will divide marital assets and debts.  The statute requires that this be done “equitably.”  Equitably usually means “equally,” but not necessarily.  As long as the asset division is fairly equal, Court consider that to be close enough.  Many people ask about how they can find assets that .. read more

Parenting Time for Unmarried Fathers

In Minnesota, an unmarried father has no parental rights unless these have been established by a court order.  The mother of the child has the common law right to physical and legal custody because she gave birth to her child.  When the mother is married to the father, then the father has common law physical and legal .. read more

What is a Temporary Relief Hearing?

Often it can take several months to complete the divorce process.  If there are disputes about custody and parenting time, disputes about the value of assets, or disputes about how much alimony or spousal maintenance should be paid, it can take several months to resolve these.  In the meantime, the parties need to continue living .. read more

Holiday Parenting Time in MN

This is the time of year that many divorced parents begin to have problems with holiday parenting time.  Often times, divorce decrees are ambiguous about holiday parenting time.  A divorce decree might say that parenting time is “reasonable and liberal,” without saying anything about a specific parenting time schedule.  Or a divorce decree might say .. read more

Do Divorce Attorneys Use Negotiating “Tricks”?

Do divorce attorneys use negotiating tricks?  Yes. Not all of them, but a lot of them. After all, they went to law school, they are attorneys, and they want to get the best deal for their client in any (legal) way they can. Many attorneys who use “positional bargaining” tactics use various “tricks” to try .. read more

How Does Divorce Mediation Work In Minnesota?

Mediation is a process in which the parties to a divorce and their attorneys meet with a neutral third party in an attempt to resolve their disagreements, without going to trial.  The neutral third party should be a trained mediator.  Usually she is a divorce attorney or other professional who has experience with divorces, along .. read more

What About “Flat Fee” Divorces?

Generally speaking, many of the so-called “flat fee” divorce offers from attorneys or para-legal services are scams.  Offering to do a job for a flat fee, especially when the process has not even started, is a lot like saying “You can hire me to fill out the forms for you, but if there are any .. read more

Does It Matter Who Starts the Divorce Proceeding?

A skilled divorce attorney understands the concept of “perceived credility.”  Maximizing the effect of “perceived credibility” for a client is one of the most important things an attorney does. Often I am asked whether it makes any difference who initiates the divorce proceeding.  My own opinion is that, often times, who goes first does matter.  This .. read more

When Should I Tell My Spouse?

One question I am often asked is when a spouse should discuss his or her intention to divorce with the other spouse.  My response is usually that “it depends.”  It is important for couples to try to cooperate during and after the divorce process, especially if they have children.  My experience is that most couples can .. read more

How to Prepare for Divorce

There are several important steps you should take when preparing for divorce. Ideally, you should take these steps before the divorce proceeding actually begins. These steps will save you money and will position you to achieve a more favorable outcome.  Its part of strategic divorce planning. I will discuss various aspects of preparation in subsequent .. read more

What is an “Uncontested Divorce”?

An uncontested divorce is a divorce proceeding in which the parties agree on how to resolve all issues.  Instead of having a trial before a judge, the parties sign a written agreement. In Minnesota, this agreement is called a “Marital Termination Agreement.” Sometimes parties can reach an agreement right away. Sometimes parties may start out with .. read more