Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

Oakdale Minnesota Legal Blog

Divorce game plans for high-net-worth couples

Not many high-net-worth couples in Minnesota or elsewhere in the United States have the kind of assets Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife of 25 years have. Even so, couples with sizeable assets may be able to learn a lesson from the way Mr. Bezos and his wife have handled their divorce so far as they work on their own post-marriage game plan. The couple jointly announced the split and stated a desired to a enjoy a "wonderful shared new life" together.

Another step that may make a high-asset divorce like this one less stressful for everyone involved, including the couple's four children, is to focus on important priorities. For separating couples, this might involve not talking negatively about one another and attending joint school, work and social events without conflict. Soon-to-be-exes are also typically advised not make emotion-based decisions, especially if there's a desire to avoid high-profile disputes.

Distracted driving crashes increase with new technology

A recent study conducted for AAA looked at the impact of new vehicle infotainment systems on the ability to maintain focus. Minnesota drivers with high-tech gadgets in their dashboards might want to note the findings of the study, which indicate that infotainment may increase distracted driving risk. AAA issued a reminder to drivers that the presence of certain technologies in a vehicle does not necessarily mean they are safe to use while driving.

Participants in the study were asked to drive one of 30 2017 model vehicles and perform tasks with the vehicle's in-dash infotainment system. Each of the systems was given a rating based on how much it contributed to distracted driving. Of the systems tested, 12 demanded very high levels of attention, 11 high levels and seven moderate levels, according to the study.

Divorce and the family home

When a couple divorces in Minnesota, some of their primary concerns revolve around finances and property division. Even in situations where there are only modest assets to consider, mistakes can be made when it comes to deciding what happens to the family home. The decision-making process can also be impacted by the presence of minor children in the family.

It is extremely important for the couple to receive an accurate appraisal of the home's value. This will assist attorneys in determining the value of the marital estate during the process of property division. What is also important is developing a strong understanding of what it will cost to maintain the home over time as these expenses can be considerable in the case of an older home or a house with out-of-date heating, plumbing or electrical systems. An understanding of maintenance costs can help spouses decide whether it is worth it to try and remain in the home or whether it should be sold.

Gray divorce describes your age, not your hair color

When you think back on the day of your wedding, does it feel like yesterday or as though it occurred a lifetime ago? If you're one of many Minnesota residents who have encountered serious problems in your marriage, the latter likely better describes how you feel. A lot of time has passed since you got married and a lifetime of changes and situations have occurred that have affected your relationship with your spouse.

In 20 years, the number of people getting divorced after age 50 has more than doubled. Known as "gray divorce," such situations often include unique issues that younger couples who divorce may not deal with, such as situations involving retirement benefits or long-term care planning issues. You may not even be able to place your finger on the exact issues that formed your decision to divorce; however, you may be able to relate to one or more problems that others cite as causal factors in their own break-ups.

External air bags could improve driver safety

Minnesota residents may be interested in learning more about the potential safety benefits of external airbags. Testing has shown that the technology, which is designed to protect against side-impact collisions, has the possibility of reducing passenger injury by up to 40 percent.

These statistics could be a driving force in making external airbags standard on automobiles in the future. However, there are a few hurdles that automobile manufacturers will need to overcome before external airbags are standard on all vehicles. One hurdle is the technology involved. Unlike standard airbags, which deploy a split second after a crash, external airbags need to deploy a split second before the crash. This means that the automobile will react based on the information it gets from sensors.

Automatic braking systems work, says IIHS

Automatic emergency brake systems are among the most exciting new vehicle safety technologies to arise in recent years, and a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicates that they might work even better than expected. Minnesota drivers are likely to encounter more such systems on the road as all of the major automakers have pledged to include standard automatic emergency braking in mainstream vehicle models by the year 2022. A variety of General Motors vehicles from the 2013 to 2015 model years were examined in the IIHS study.

More specifically, the study looked at crossovers, SUVs, small sedans and large sedans manufactured by Cadillac, Buick or Chevrolet. Because the automatic braking systems were optional on these 2013 to 2015 model year vehicles, researchers were assisted by GM, which gave IIHS the VIN numbers of vehicles equipped with the systems. GM has two levels of alert or braking technology. The first is called Forward Collision Alert. It warns the driver if the vehicle is about to hit something but does not apply the brakes.

Obstacles fathers may face in custody, support issues

Some unmarried and divorced fathers in Minnesota might face obstacles when it comes to paying child support and getting access to their children. For example, one father was jailed for not paying child support, lost his job and had to declare bankruptcy. Another was blocked from seeing his children by a protection order while a third did not get equal custody of his child from a brief relationship in which he was not married to the mother. Furthermore, most custodial parents are mothers, and some courts may tend to favor them.

Fathers who fall behind in child support should try to pay some of what they owe, and they may want to consult an attorney with assistance in asking for a modification. A modification does not change child support debt that is past due, but a court may lower future payments if there is a good reason such as the loss of a job.

Child custody and making the right choice for your kids

When parents decide to move forward with divorce, it can lead to significant upheaval and distress for the children. Even between two amicable Minnesota parents, it can be difficult to decide on the right choice for custody and visitation arrangements. In order to provide your kids with stability and lessen the chance for harmful disruption in their lives, it may be useful to learn as much as you can about custody and your parental rights. 

For many families, joint custody is a reasonable solution to child custody concerns. This type of arrangement can allow the children to maintain close contact with both parents, which is beneficial for their mental and emotional health. Whether you are pursuing a joint custody arrangement or want sole custody, you will need to understand legal custody and physical custody, along with what they mean for you.

Taking action to prevent dog bites

Animal bites can be dangerous to people in Minnesota and elsewhere, leading to severe injuries, lacerations and infections. When people fail to control their pets, the consequences can be disastrous for others; people have even lost their lives from dog bites and other attacks. Every year, around 4.7 million people across the country are bitten by dogs; of those, around 800,000 require medical treatment. While some people require stitches or bandaging, others develop serious infections as a result of animal bites.

The consequences can be particularly striking for young children: Over half of all bites to kids 4 and younger happen in the head and neck region. In addition, 400,000 cat bites take place each year, leading to 66,000 emergency room visits. There are several ways that people can help to reduce the risk of an animal bite and the resulting injuries. When greeting a strange dog or cat, it can be best to avoid extending hands because some animals view it as a threat. In addition, it's best to ask permission of the owner before reaching out to pet a cat or dog. The owner may warn against touching the animal if it is known to be reactive.

Police dog bites raise questions about K-9 training

Animal bites can cause serious damage, and this is definitely true for bites from trained dogs like those working with Minnesota police departments. In the past two years, one Minneapolis lawyer has had three major cases involving a police dog biting an innocent person near a crime scene. He noted that in these cases, the dog did what it was trained to do. The problem is that the victim was innocent. However, he noted that these cases are often different from residential dog bites in that they cannot truly be considered accidents.

In July, a St. Paul police dog bit a bystander on the forearm after breaking away from its leash and collar. The dog had been participating in a search for a suspect in the area. Officials have noted a need for change in policies after the incident, even though police have continued to say that dogs are partners in law enforcement. However, some question whether police dogs need to be trained to bite and how well training works to curb animal instincts.

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Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

7825 3rd Street North | Suite 204 | Oakdale, MN 55128 | Phone: 612-254-6409 | Fax: 651-731-5496 | Oakdale Law Office Map