Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

Oakdale Minnesota Legal Blog

Establishing parental rights for unmarried parents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 40% of all U.S. children are born to parents who are not married to each other. This marks a significant increase in recent years as the percentage was 18.4% in 2007. Not being married to the other parent poses more problems for a father. In Minnesota, the mother's rights are typically established when the child is born. Fathers, on the other hand, will have to take steps to establish paternity in many cases.

When a child is born and the parents are not married, there is no presumption of paternity in most courts. The father thus has no legal rights related to custody, visitation or decision making. The simplest way for a father to establish paternity is to make sure that his name is on the child's birth certificate. If the mother contests paternity, a government agency or a lawyer could possibly help the father get a paternity test completed.

Consumers overestimate driver assist features

Modern motor vehicles are increasingly including technological features that are changing the nature of transportation. Semi-autonomous driving features continue to make their way into vehicles on Minnesota roadways, bringing many advantages but also raising some new kinds of safety concerns. Many drivers are unaware of the capabilities and limitations of these technologies, and that can lead to car accidents.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted a survey of more than 2,000 people, asking about their knowledge of the driver assistance technologies on the market. The IIHS concluded that drivers generally have very little idea about the systems' capabilities.

What happens when child custody negotiations don't go as planned?

As a parent, one of your primary concerns may pertain to taking every possible measure to safeguard the needs and interests of your kids. Should you and your spouse decide to part ways, you might have concerns about how the outcome of the process will impact the lives of your children.

You may choose to address these issues during negotiations and attempt to reach an amicable and acceptable agreement for child custody with the other parent. However, negotiations might not always go as planned, and if you cannot find common ground, it may be up to the court to reach the decision for you.

Greater safety urged for automobile rear seats

Researchers and safety advocates in Minnesota are working to draw attention to the risks faced by rear seat passengers in a car accident. Many safety technologies have been developed in recent decades, including airbags and automatically tightening seat belts. However, while these devices save a significant number of lives and have made cars safer than at any time in the past, they are largely confined to the front seat. Some of the most common rear seat safety standards have not been updated in nearly 50 years despite the massive advances in automotive technology since that time.

At the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, researchers stressed the importance of buckling up. They noted that many more people are using the rear seats of passenger cars, especially as ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft become more common. However, passengers are much less likely to use their seat belts in a rideshare vehicle than they are in a private car. Still, researchers noted that buckling up does not eliminate the risk to rear seat passengers in a car accident. They studied 117 collisions in which people in the back were seriously injured or killed in front-end crashes. People in the back may face even more injuries in rear-end or side-impact accidents.

Financial information needed in a divorce

A full understanding of finances is important for people in Minnesota who are considering divorce. They should understand both current family finances and what their budget will look like after the divorce. This involves gathering information about income, creating a lifestyle analysis and drawing up a statement of net worth before submitting financial information to the court.

Tax returns for the past several years can be used to establish income. People who own a share of a company should try to find out if any personal expenses have been paid through the company since they will need that information in creating the lifestyle analysis. This is simply an account of expenses for the past several years and a forecast of what the budget will be after the divorce. It is important to make it as accurate as possible since this is the basis on which a person will negotiate the settlement agreement. This may involve forecasting some unknown future expenses, such as college costs and health care, that are increasing at a rate faster than inflation.

Memes, an unexpected source of driver distraction

Drivers can be distracted by any number of things, and that apparently includes memes. This was one of the findings of an online study run by the market research firm Wakefield Research and involving about 2,000 drivers from Minnesota and across the U.S. However, it is far from the only important finding.

First of all, 99% of respondents ranked phones among the top three distractions for a driver. Nearly half of respondents said that distracted driving was their top concern whenever they are on the road. Yet they also conceded that they use their phones behind the wheel with the average time coming to 13 minutes each day.

Balancing divorce and work

The legal aspects of a divorce in Minnesota can take up a lot of time, and much of this time can conflict with a work schedule. Court dates often interfere with important meetings, and official documents from the court may interrupt important activities at the office. While all of these conflicts can appear to be very difficult, there are several ways to carefully balance divorce proceedings and work.

The first step to balancing a divorce and work is to be very careful with scheduling. One way to do this is to set aside specific hours during the day to deal with divorce matters. An attorney should be made aware of which specific hours their client is available to discuss the case or schedule mediation or court appearances. When looking for legal representation, finding a lawyer that's close by can help with scheduling.

Autonomous technology could stop drunk drivers

People in Minnesota have good reason to be concerned about the dangers posed by drunk driving. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people lost their lives across the country as a result of car accidents connected to impaired driving. There have been various efforts to put a stop to the practice, from public awareness campaigns to law enforcement crackdowns. However, drivers operating under the influence continue to pose a threat on the roadways.

At least one auto manufacturer is looking for a technological solution to the problem, involving some of the same technology that is helping to create self-driving cars. Volvo announced that it will begin installing anti-drunk driving systems in its new cars in the early 2020s. These systems will include sensors and cameras installed inside the car to look for signs of drunk driving. The sensors will pick up on drivers who have failed to engage with the steering wheel for an extended period of time, those with their eyes closed or those who seem to be violently weaving back and forth on the road.

Is your spouse trying to hide assets so you can't get them?

When a Minnesota married couple decides to divorce, there are typically numerous issues they must resolve before they can achieve a settlement. For instance, if you're one of many parents in this state who are preparing for divorce proceedings, your children's best interests are likely one of your highest priorities. You and your spouse will have to agree on custody issues, as well as financial provisions to cover expenses associated with your children's needs as your family moves on in life.

Finances are often a contentious issue in divorce, especially if your spouse refuses to follow the rules. Minnesota is an equitable property state, which means the judge overseeing your case will decide how to fairly divide all marital assets and debt. The split will not necessarily be 50/50. If your spouse refuses to fully disclose a list of assets and liabilities or is acting angry or defensive when you inquire about financial issues, it might be a sign that you have a hidden asset problem on your hands.

Travelers survey reveals reasons for driver distraction

Minnesota residents may be aware that distracted driving is a widespread issue and even engage in it themselves. The Travelers Companies has been able to gather some interesting data on this trend through a survey of more than 2,000 consumers and executives. It can be found in the 2019 Travelers Risk Index.

Forty-four percent of those who were surveyed admitted to sending emails or texts while behind the wheel, making this the most prominent form of distracted driving. After that came social media use (23 percent) and taking pictures or recording videos (22 percent). Nineteen percent are not deterred by the law, saying they will not stop driving distracted on account of it.

Legal Awards & Professional Associations

Super Lawyers Susan Dowden Super Lawyers Lisa Watson Cyr Lisa Watson Dowden Best Lawyers
Super Lawyers Top 50 Woman Minnesota Susan Bowden Gunst
AV Preeminent Best Lawyers Best Law Firm US News
BBB Accredited Business Minnesota State Bar Association Justice American Arbitration Association Lisa Watson Cry | Best Lawyers | 2019

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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