Common Family Law Questions
- How long will it take for my case to be resolved and how much will it cost?
- Do I need an attorney? Can't I just fill out the forms from the Courthouse or print them off the Internet?
- Can I decrease my child support obligation?
- How do I receive more child support?
- Does the child support law factor in the incomes of both parents?
- Is Minnesota a "woman's state" in terms of custody issues?
- Do I have to give the court a reason why I want to get divorced?
- Can the custodial parent move the child to another state?
- How old must my child be before he/she can decide with which parent to live?
Understandably, this is a common question. However, we always give clients the same answer, "it depends". It depends on the degree of cooperation between the parties as to how quickly their legal issues can be resolved. The more contentious the parties are, the more work there is for the attorneys to do, the more court hearings there are to attend, etc. If you want to keep your legal costs down and you are seeking a quick resolution, then our best advice is to COOPERATE with each other and do your best to set aside legally irrelevant emotional issues that have no effect but to increase your legal fees.
Do I need an attorney? Can't I just fill out the forms from the Courthouse or print them off the Internet?
Have you ever heard of the adage, "a person who represents himself has a fool for a client?" Filling out forms does not replace years of legal experience and knowledge. If it did, then there would be no need for anyone to attend law school. Instead, we would all just be instant lawyers and we could forego the time and expense of a legal education and years of experience. Our advice is that it is unwise for a person to represent himself. That applies even to lawyers. Do not dismiss the important role emotions play in family law matters either. Those emotions are very often quite extreme. They can and often do cloud the judgment of otherwise intelligent and reasonable people.
There are very specific circumstances that must exist in order for you to be eligible to modify your child support obligation. You must meet certain criteria just to get the Court to grant you a motion hearing. The most common basis for bringing a motion to modify a child support order is the showing of a substantial increase or decrease in the gross monthly income of either parent.
Under certain circumstances Minnesota law allows parents to increase the amount of child support the other parent pays. One of the most frequent basis for increasing child support is to show that the paying parent's gross monthly income has substantially increased.
Yes, Minnesota's child support law now calculates support obligations based on several criteria, one of which is the gross monthly income of both parents. The old law only factored in the net monthly income of the non-custodial parent.
The law is written to be gender neutral. While in most cases mothers are awarded physical custody of their children, this is due to the reality that often it is the mother that provides the daily care for the minor children. However, we are seeing more often where fathers are taking over the traditional role of "motherhood" and are being awarded physical custody of their children.
No. Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. That means that a spouse does not have to offer a reason to the Court as to why he/she wishes to get a divorce. Minnesota law only requires a finding that the marital relationship is irretrievably broken.
A custodial parent can move the minor child's residence to another state only if the non-custodial parent consents to the move or the Court issues an order granting the move. The Court uses the "best interest of the child" standard in making that determination.
Technically, a minor child can never decide which parent to live with. However, judges do have discretion to consider the preference of the minor child. It has been our experience that judges typically only use that discretion when dealing with teenagers.