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No such thing as "too much" child support

Many single Minnesota parents rely on child support in order to provide for their children. However, there are some who often hear complaints about how much child support they are receiving. In some cases, the complaints may be coming from the other parent who is responsible for paying support.

Ultimately, each state has a child support system that allows judges to determine how much child support the noncustodial parent should be paying based on income. Minnesota uses the "income shares model" where both the parents' income is taken into account when figuring out child support. The main goal is to ensure that the child is able to maintain the standards of living they would have become accustomed to if the parents were still together. This is especially important if one parent was much wealthier than the other.

Child custody myths that need to be dispelled

Pennsylvania children whho are subjected to domestic violence may be at a higher risk for developing PTSD. This may occur in childhood or later when that child turns into an adult. In some cases, these problems can persist after his or her parents get divorced. This is partially because of a belief that a child may be safe from an abusive parent after a separation or divorce.

Children may also be used as bargaining chips by their parents after their relationship ends. There is also no guarantee that the parent who was the victim of abuse is the one who gets custody of his or her children. In some cases, an abusive mother or father may actually win custody despite his or her past actions. This may occur because the abuse victim is not physically or mentally capable of taking care of a child or children.

Why cohabiting couples should avoid mortgages

Minnesota couples who are living together but aren't married may want to reconsider buying a house together. While it may be seen as a step on the road to marriage, the law treats a couple differently when they aren't actually husband and wife. For instance, if the house is sold, both parties may be entitled to an even split of the proceeds even if only one person actually makes payments.

Those who study the issue say that it may be easier if one person is on the mortgage and the other pays rent. If the couple gets married, the money goes to the same place, and if the relationship ends, whoever keeps the house has the benefit of being paid market value rent by a tenant. Regardless of what a couple decides to do, it may be best to treat the transaction like any other business arrangement.

Life sentences commuted for nonviolent drug offenders

Minnesota residents may know that there are people serving decades-long and life sentences in prison for nonviolent drug offenses. Some people argue that handing lengthy sentences to nonviolent drug offenders leads to unnecessarily high incarceration rates. Since 1980, the prison population in the United States has grown from under 25,000 to over 200,000.

Over the past few years, President Barack Obama has been granting commutations to hundreds of nonviolent drug offenders in an effort to reduce prison overcrowding, save taxpayer money and give deserving prisoners a second chance. Over one-third of the 673 inmates whose sentences have been cut short so far were serving life sentences in prison. Obama's most recent round of commutations were granted Aug. 30 when he shortened 111 federal prisoners' sentences. Earlier in August, 214 federal prisoners' sentences were commuted.

Property division and college savings accounts

Property division can be one of the most challenging aspects of a Minnesota divorce, especially when large assets are involved. Parents with substantial funds often make it a point to save aggressively for the college costs their children will face, especially if there are goals of sending their offspring to expensive institutions. Protecting these assets during the divorce process could be a serious concern as some types of accounts can be diverted for other uses or beneficiaries.

A 529 savings plan can be created as a custodial account, which ensures that the funds intended for a given child will go to that child. The beneficiary in this situation cannot be changed, which can prevent the diversion of such funds to a new spouse or child after the conclusion of the divorce. A 529 account that is not custodial could go through a change of beneficiary. There may be some cases in which using such funds would make more sense than tapping into retirement accounts to settle with an ex-spouse in a high asset divorce. Specific directions for handling of a 529 account should be included in a divorce settlement.

Avoiding jail time for white-collar offenses

Laws concerning financial fraud are undeniably complex. As a result, even finance, mortgage and tax professionals acting in good faith can become reasonably concerned that a potential misstep may lead to significant legal consequences.

Speaking confidentially with an attorney will almost certainly help to relieve any potential fears you may have regarding any professional missteps you may have made. However, it can also be helpful to understand that even in the event that you are convicted of white-collar wrongdoing, you will not necessarily face jail time. Oftentimes, the consequences of a white collar conviction do not include imprisonment. 

Many domestic violence survivors suffer from head trauma

In recent years, there have been many news reports about concussions suffered by football players and U.S. war veterans. However, comparably little attention has been paid to the head trauma regularly suffered by domestic violence victims in Minnesota and across the United States.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 25 percent of American women and 14 percent of men have been physically assaulted by a partner at some point in their lives. Examples of these assaults include being punched, hit, pushed down stairs or slammed against hard objects. Experts say at least 60 percent of domestic assault victims suffer traumatic brain injuries, which can leave survivors with long-term cognitive and memory problems. Some survivors are so impaired that they can no longer work or take care of themselves.

Shared parenting in child custody cases

In the last several years, child custody reform laws have been implemented across the U.S., and many states, including Minnesota, have put more emphasis on shared parenting following a separation or divorce. Studies show that children are happier overall when both parents are actively present in their lives, and spending equal or comparable time with both parents is paramount to a child's well-being.

While shared parenting laws differ by state, they are similar at their core, challenging the long-standing belief that a child having a primary single dwelling is of higher importance than spending a roughly equal amount of time with both parents. This may have a positive impact on father's rights, according to lawmakers. In the past, mothers have typically been selected as a child's primary caretaker following a divorce, leaving many fathers with little say in how their children are raised.

How to make a divorce easier for children

Minnesota parents who are ending their marriage may want to take some steps to reduce the impact that it has on their kids. While divorces are always hard, a parent may be able to make the process seem more like a life change than a traumatic event. Children may find it a lot easier if their parents do things to minimize their own stress.

One of the most important things parents can do to help their kids during this period is to try to have amiable communications with each other. To reduce conflict during a divorce, estranged parents may have to forgive each other on some level so that they will not be tempted to make negative comments in front of the children. They may also be a better parents to their children during a divorce if they can forgive themselves and practice good self-care.

Resolving custody disputes in Minnesota

Pokemon Go is one of the most popular games of 2016. While it may promote exercise, it may also cause a child to become addicted to the game or to gaming in general. As a parent, it is a good idea to limit screen time if that is what may be in the best interest of the child. In fact, parents may be allowed to delete the game from a child's phone or from a phone that they use.

However, the other parent may see nothing wrong with playing the game on a regular basis. If there is a disagreement, it is a good idea to solve the dispute in a rational manner. It helps neither the parents nor the child to be in a constant argument over a game that may not even be popular this time next year.

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Juvenile Criminal
Defense Strategies

Christa Jacqueline Groshek
© 2012 Aspatore Books from
Thomson Reuters Westlaw.
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