What’s the Difference Between Physical and Legal Custody in Minnesota?

The phrase “custody” is used to describe the obligations, and rights, of parents regarding the care of their children. Child custody issues come about when an unmarried couple has a child together, or when married parents get a divorce. The two types of child custody in Minnesota are physical custody and legal custody. Legal custody involves a parent being able to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing and well-being (religion, … Read More

I Was Rushed Into Signing A Prenuptial Agreement. Is It Valid?

Did you sign a prenuptial agreement and it felt a bit rushed? Did you not have time to adequately read the terms of the agreement? Were you coerced into signing the agreement? While "rushed" may not be the best claim to void a prenup, there are a number of legal bases to do so. For instance, being coerced into signing the agreement can void the contact. So can signing under duress. Failure to fully disclose the agreement to you can also lead … Read More

Parenting Plans: An Option for Minnesota Custody Disputes

Once a divorce or paternity action has been initiated, physical and legal custody issues may arise, along with a need to determine the appropriate parenting time schedule. Rather than fighting over custody labels, Minnesota law allows the litigants to simply enter into an agreement called a “Parenting Plan.” The details of a Parenting Plan are finalized by the parents themselves, and are not based on an Order of the Court; Judges have no … Read More

First Divorce Decision: Where to Venue Your Case?

The venue for a divorce, generally, refers to the location where dissolution proceedings will be heard. If you are filing for divorce in the State of Minnesota, venue refers to the county in which your divorce will be handled. The first step in initiating divorce proceedings in the State of Minnesota involves the service and filing of a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. In order to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, either … Read More

What are the Differences Between Judges, Family Law Referees and Child Support Magistrates?

In Minnesota, family law matters are typically handled either by a family court judge, referee, or child support magistrate.  There are minor variations in the legal authority and responsibilities of each such official, and there is also some variation in the types of cases that they preside over.  Most family court hearings in Minnesota are presided over by judges. A family court referee may get involved, but only in certain counties that … Read More

I’ve Filed for Divorce in Minnesota. What’s Next? Go!

As early as three weeks after filing for divorce, the parties must appear before the judicial officer assigned to their case. This first appearance is called the "Initial Case Management Conference." The ICMC is an informal hearing. No arguments are presented, or decisions made - except for a determination concerning how to move forward in the most efficient manner. Any issues that are not resolved among the parties can be resolved through … Read More

Minnesota Step Parent Adoption: An Overview

Step parent adoption is the most common forms of adoption in Minnesota. It involves a three-part process. First, the parental rights of the biological father are terminated. Usually this is done on a voluntary basis, although in some instances and involuntary termination of parental rights will be necessary. The court will not grant a voluntary termination of a father's parental rights unless mother's new husband is ready to adopt the … Read More

Minnesota’s Social Early Neutral Evaluation Model for Divorce and Paternity Cases

More than 95% of the cases we handle settle short of trial. When custody issues are involved, many of our clients participate in a process known as social early neutral evaluation - an SENE. In a social early neutral evaluation, the lawyers and clients will meet with a pair of evaluators. These individuals are usually social workers, custody evaluators, or experienced family law practitioners. The team will consist of one male and one female, … Read More

Contempt in Minnesota: Consequences of Ignoring Court Orders

The court is responsible for controlling the conduct that occurs within its doors, but also has to deal with issues outside of the courtroom when it comes to family matters. It is typical for a contempt motion to be made in a family law case when one party has violated an order of the court, such as an order to pay child support, spousal maintenance, or a parenting time arrangement. The contempt rules are rather strict, in an effort to … Read More

Gambling, Alcohol Abuse, Drug Use, Cheating & Dissipating: Fault In A No-Fault Divorce State

The lawyers with Thyden, Gross & Callahan, LLP, authors of the Maryland Divorce Legal Crier, recently published an article entitled "Putting the Fault Back into No-Fault Divorce." They point out that despite the fact that several states on the east coast have moved (like Minnesota in the 1970's) to "no-fault" divorce, fault still creeps into the mix. The same is true in Minnesota. While easy to simply utter "we're a no-fault state," we're … Read More