How is custody addressed when parents live in other states?


With our mobile society, it is relatively easy to move to and from other states.  There may be situations where couples with children find themselves living in different states.  What happens with children?  The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, or UCCJEA, may come into play.  The UCCJEA is a series of statutes, or […]

What is the benefit of marriage to same-sex couples?


Now we celebrate the fact same-sex marriage is the right for all gay couples.  But now that the right exists, should a same-sex couple step forward and marry?  Frankly, the question of “should we get married” is something any couple – straight or same-sex – must weigh carefully.  It is easy to actually marry, but […]

What is the difference between legal separation and informal separation?


A difference exists in Minnesota between a legal separation, one where there is a legal process that is done, and an informal separation, one where the couple either lives apart or in the same home but the marital relationship is over. Informal separation is very common.  There is no court process that happens.  It is […]

What is a cohabitation agreement?


The long-standing tradition of marriage has changed over the last few decades.  When a couple was in a serious long standing relationship, they married.  They worked and saved money, earned retirement benefits and built a joint financial life.  That is just the way it was done.  The marital contract protected each spouse with legal rights […]

How can divorce affect retirement?


Couples typically start out with a plan for their future by buying a house, planning for their children’s education and their own retirement.  Often they are not thinking about a time when the marriage may come to an end.  Never did they imagine they have to rebuild their own financial future.  Two assets that are divided […]

Can I change my last name in a divorce?


Minnesota law allows a person to change his or her last name in a divorce, but changing a last name is a very personal choice and is a sensitive issue.  One spouse cannot force the other to change their last name.  Often a mom struggles with changing her last name having it be different from […]

What if I signed a prenuptial agreement that I felt rushed to sign?


Before you know it, the wedding, which you spent months discussing and planning, is weeks or days away and your soon-to-be spouse will not stop taking about you signing the prenuptial agreement.  You finally decide to sign the prenuptial agreement although in your gut you were not sure it was the right thing to do. […]

How to address parenting time when a parent travels for work?


Parenting is stressful enough when both parents work locally.  Going through a divorce for a parent who travels around the state or out of state gets complicated and ugly.  What should a divorcing parent who works away from home do to maximize the time he or she has with the children?  There are some steps […]

What do I do if my ex is drunk or high when we exchange our kids?


Minnesota law requires parents adhere to a parenting time schedule when they go through a family court case.  This schedule lays out what days and times parents exchange their kids.  It can also include language saying parents cannot drink when the children are in their care or that a parent has to complete a urinalysis […]

What is the Schmitz Formula?


Dividing a house or other real estate that was purchased during a marriage is often very straight forward.  What if a spouse bought a house before the marriage?  How does that get divided?  Here is an example of this issue: Wife bought a house in 2002 for $150,000.  She paid $20,000 as a down payment […]