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

How Are Businesses Valued And Divided As Part Of A Divorce In Minnesota?

Many of our current and former clients are entrepreneurs - owners of small businesses, including restaurants, hair salons, trucking entities, vending services, auto repair shops, construction companies and web design firms. Important to keep in mind that even if the business was started and managed by just one spouse, it may be "marital" in nature. Marital assets are generally subject to an equal division among the parties. The first step in … Read More

The Parties, The Lawyers, The Judge And Uncle Sam: The Key Players In Most Divorces

Many divorces involve alimony, child support and the division of assets - all of which involve taxation issues. Litigants tend to overlook the impact that these provisions will have on their taxes. As lawyers, however, we consistently take the tax consequences into account in determining what is fair and equitable under the circumstances. Alimony payments are considered income for the person to whom the payments are made, and are deductible to … Read More

What Is An FENE…And Why Do They Work?

More and more Minnesota counties are providing divorce litigants with an opportunity to resolve their financial issues through a process known as "Financial Early Neutral Evaluation." Settlement success rates in the FENE model are astonishing - as high as 75% in some jurisdictions. An FENE involves a half-day session (or two, or three, or four) with a court-appointed neutral. This neutral typically is an experienced family law attorney, or a … Read More

Division Of Retirement Assets In Divorce: Field Guide To QDROs, SEPs, ESOPs, TSPs And Other Beasts

In addition to homes, automobiles, bank accounts and furniture, retirement plans may be "marital property," subject to an equitable divisionamong the parties to a divorce. Many twenty-pound books have been written about the methods of valuing, and dividing, retirement interests. In fact, some lawyers make their living handling only the orders associated with slicing and dicing retirement plans, for two key reasons. First, this stuff is rather … Read More

Maryland Judge Awards Couple Joint Legal Custody Of Lucky The Dog

Michelle Lore, a contributing author to the Minnesota Lawyer Blog recently authored a post about the custody decision in Maryland involving...a dog. She reports: A judge in Maryland recently decided a custody battle with a twist — it was over a beloved pet. A childless couple heading for a divorce could not agree on who would have the right to keep Lucky, their 16-pound Lhasa apso. Maryland treats pets as jointly owned marital property … Read More

Harrison & Hannah: Two With An Interest In Taxation

Tax season is in full swing. Thanks to Jeanne Hannah, Michigan divorce lawyer, for her summary of the IRS tax resourcesthat may be of interest to current, and former, divorce litigants. Hannah's recent post provides links to the IRS forms and publications that address an individual's filing status, exemptions, tax interceptions and claims for innocent spouse relief: IRS Publication 504: Divorced or Separated Individuals; IRS Form 8379: … Read More

Podcast: Valuation & Division of Assets & Liabilities In Divorce

In this edition of The Family Law Show we summarize how judges value and allocate assets and debts as parties dissolve their marriage. Every case, regardless of the age, income or educational level of the litigants, will involve an analysis of the relevant property interests of the couple - even if they've only been married for a short time. Topics discussed in this podcastinclude the concealing of assets, tools for uncovering assets, the … Read More

Divorce & Division Of 7,000 Photos: Off With The Gloves!

Who would believe an instant camera to lead to so much conflict? Noeleen Walder of the New York Law Journal recently authored an article entitled "Divorcing Couple Hits Snag Over Splitting 7,000 Family Photos." Walder writes: When M.R. and E.R. decided to call it quits after more than 20 years of marriage, they had no trouble agreeing on how to split the marital home or how to handle custody of their children. But when it came to figuring out … Read More

Minnesota Divorce: Asset & Debt Division Summary

Minnesota law categorizes property as marital or non-marital. Marital property is usually divided equally while non-marital property is allocated entirely to the party who maintains the non-marital interest. Non-marital property involves the interest a party has in property accumulated prior to a marriage or property received as a gift or inheritence by one spouse, individually, during a marriage. Marital property involves any property that … Read More