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Oakdale Minnesota Legal Blog

Later marriages and asset protection driving use of prenups

Members of the millennial generation in Minnesota and nationwide get married at later ages than previous generations. As a result, they often enter relationships with individual assets that they want to protect if divorce should occur. These reasons appear to be driving more people to negotiate prenuptial agreements according to a survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. The respondents reported a 51% increase in millennial clients signing prenuptial agreements.

Millennials on average are getting married in their late 20s or early 30s. Marriages later in life give people an opportunity to start their careers before walking down the aisle. This means that they often have savings, investments, stock options or sometimes real estate by the time that they get married. With more people possessing assets that a potential divorce could threaten, the taboo against prenuptial agreements has eroded among millennials. People who expect inheritances later in life often want to segregate those future assets as well.

Study finds drowsy driving accident rate underestimated

People in Minnesota might be putting themselves in as much, or more, danger by driving while drowsy compared to getting behind the wheel when drunk. It has been difficult to establish the frequency of crashes related to drowsy driving because data often depends on self-reporting. However, a AAA study, which used different methods, estimates that drowsy driving factors into more than 9% of motor vehicle accidents. Over 50% of the drowsiness-related crashes took place after dark.

Government estimates have reported that drowsy driving causes 1% or 2% of auto accidents while National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates put the rate around 5%. Unlike previous studies, the AAA study used dashcam footage to determine whether a driver was struggling with drowsiness in the seconds before the crash. The study looked at driver behavior in the final one to three minutes before the accident occurred. If a driver's eyes closed 80% for 12% or more of the frames, this was considered drowsy driving.

Drowsy driving is an underreported road hazard

A motorist who has not slept for 24 hours is as impaired as one who has consumed five alcoholic drinks, yet an Automobile Association of America study suggests that about a third of them have chosen to get behind the wheel while dangerously tired at least once during the last 30 days. The dangers of drowsy driving are well known, but a growing body of research reveals that a worrying number of drivers in Minnesota and around the country are aware of the risks and take their chances anyway.

Advocacy groups say that the problem of drowsy driving is far more widespread than government crash statistics indicate. This is because accident investigators do not have a reliable way to identify fatigue and crash report paperwork rarely collects drowsiness data. A study of dashboard video footage recorded in the moments before an accident led AAA researchers to conclude that drowsiness plays a role in close to 10% of all car accidents.

How a person can keep the home after a divorce

The decision on whether to keep or sell the family home in a divorce may be one of the biggest decisions a former Minnesota couple has to make. Many couples decide to just sell the family home and split the proceeds as this is usually the easiest way to divide this asset. However, if there are kids involved or the home has a sentimental value, one person may wish to keep the home.

If one person does want to keep the home, he or she will likely have to buy out the other person. This can be done by determining how much equity the home has and dividing this amount up between the two individuals. The person who wants the home may then offer an equal or fair share of his or her portion of the marital assets. For example, a former couple may agree that one person keeps the home and the other person gets the family car and funds in a specific savings account.

Creditors aren't bound by your divorce decree

One of the primary concerns for people involved in a divorce is making sure they receive a property settlement that gives them a secure financial start to their newly single lives. They focus on dividing assets and may not give enough thought to dividing debts.

If you are like many other people across the country, you have credit card debt. Even older couples tend to have this type of financial obligation these days. As you work toward finalizing your divorce, you may ask a Minnesota court to divide your credit card debt between you and your future former spouse. You may believe this means you will no longer have any responsibility for the debt, but that is not necessarily the case.

Why women are more likely to be harmed in a crash

Research has found that women are more likely to be hurt in car accidents. One of the reasons for this may be because seat belts are not necessarily designed with a female body type in mind. Minnesota residents will likely be surprised to learn that crash test dummies are only designed to represent one type of woman.

The female crash test dummy is meant to represent someone who is five feet tall and who weighs about 110 pounds. While this may represent the height and weight of an average female, those are not the only attributes that matter. Other variables such as fat distribution and skeletal structure could play a role in how severely a person is injured in an accident. One study found that women are 73% more likely to be hurt or killed in a car wreck compared to male victims.

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.

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Super Lawyers Susan Dowden Super Lawyers Lisa Watson Cyr Lisa Watson Dowden Best Lawyers
Super Lawyers Top 50 Woman Minnesota Susan Bowden Gunst
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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