Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

Oakdale Minnesota Legal Blog

Safety features may actually put drivers in danger

Adaptive cruise control and other advanced safety features may make driving more dangerous for Minnesota residents and other Americans. According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, these features may cause drivers to focus less on road conditions. This is because drivers may trust that their cars are more capable of keeping them safe than they actually are. At a minimum, individuals are expected to keep their hands on the steering wheel and their eyes on the road while their vehicles are in motion.

Features such as lane assist or adaptive cruise control can make a person twice as likely to engage in distracted driving while they are in use. However, the researchers who undertook the study say that the features themselves can help individuals stay safe while on the road. They concluded that the challenge is ensuring that automakers can effectively educate vehicle owners about how to use them.

Property division and retirement accounts

For people in Minnesota, retirement funds may be among the largest assets that they have. This means that they are also some of the most substantial marital assets dealt with during property division in a divorce. In most cases, retirement accounts are considered marital assets. Of course, the amount of those funds that are considered part of the marital estate depends on the length of the marriage and how long the retirement plan has been in existence. For people married for many years before they started their retirement plan, the entire fund may be divided between the couple. People in shorter marriages may divide only the growth of the fund during the marriage, depending on their circumstances.

Many people have different types of retirement plans. Some of the most common employer-maintained accounts, like 401(k) or 403(b) plans, require a Qualified Domestic Relations Order to divide them. This court order prevents tax penalties and allows for a division that mirrors the settlement in the divorce decree. In general, a spouse receiving funds in a divorce settlement can roll them over into their own retirement plan without paying a tax penalty. Pensions and other defined benefit plans are also subject to property division, and a QDRO can be used to determine their division.

Looking out for the children's best interests when co-parenting

It's generally best for children of divorce to spend an equal amount of time with each parent. Analysts say that this helps them to become balanced adults with a healthy level of self-esteem. However, there are many challenges to co-parenting. Minnesota parents may be interested in learning about ways they can look out for the best interests of their kids while co-parenting after a divorce.

Younger children need constant reassurance that both of their parents love them. Furthermore, it's good to remind kids under 10 a few days ahead of time that they will be switching households. This will help them anticipate changes. When possible, it is good to show enthusiasm about visits with their other parent.

Alimony is often a central focus of gray divorce

After years of spending your life with the same person day in and day out, deciding to sever the relationship can prompt a wave of mixed emotion. Divorce is never easy, and it can be especially challenging for you if you decide to file a petition when you are age 55 or older. The divorce rate has been steadily increasing among this age group.

That's why it pays to be aware of such trends and also to be able to recognize signs of marital crisis. If you decide to divorce and plan to request alimony, there are several things you should know. Discussing your plans with someone who has already navigated gray divorce or is, at least, well-versed in Minnesota laws can be helpful.

Advantages of working with a divorce financial specialist

Some Minnesota residents may find it helpful to hire a divorce financial specialist alongside an attorney and other professionals when they are going through a divorce. Even if the person already has a financial adviser, a divorce financial specialist can provide advice based on the specifics of the situation with an eye toward the division of property and how this will affect the person's finances after the divorce.

In a high-asset divorce, this process of property division can be particularly complex. While a CPA may be able to offer guidance on tax issues and a financial adviser can assist by providing relevant information about the investment portfolio, a divorce financial specialist may be able to outline potential options for a settlement based on that information. In addition to suggestions about what to do with such assets as private equity holdings, the divorce financial specialist may be able to advise regarding the shared home, which can be one of the more difficult factors in a divorce.

Study ranks 15 states with most teen drunk drivers

Many teens in Minnesota drink alcohol, not only hurting themselves but also putting others in danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 5.5% of teens report driving after consuming alcohol in any amount. Drunk driving is one of the most prominent factors in car crashes, and drunk driving deaths compose one third of all driving fatalities.

The number of teen drunk drivers differs from state to state, and researchers at CheapCarInsuranceQuotes.com have been able to determine which states fare the worst. In its ranking of 15 states, Arkansas and Louisiana came first with 10.6% and 10% of high school students in those states reportedly driving after drinking. The 15th state was Idaho with 6% of students drinking and driving.

Top reasons why fall driving can be dangerous

Driving in the fall can be dangerous in Minnesota for several reasons. Children resume school during this season, which means drivers need to watch out for buses and heavier pedestrian traffic. The traffic will be particularly heavy during the morning and afternoon.

Rain, fog and frost are other dangers. Rainwater can gather on top of dust and oil, and before it's washed away, it can make the pavement slippery. Fog often rolls in early in the morning and reduces visibility. When temperatures drop drastically overnight, frost appears, usually under bridges and overpasses and other shady areas. Third, falling leaves can obscure road hazards and become a slippery mess in the rain.

Is your marriage plagued by one or more of these issues?

If you're one of many spouses in Minnesota who are currently considering filing for divorce, there may be certain issues that have been determining factors in your decision. Whether you've been married less than five years or more than 25, it's helpful to confide in a trusted friend or family member who has gone through similar challenges in marriage, as he or she can provide encouragement and support as you make life-changing decisions about your own relationship.

There are numerous issues that spouses often consider "deal breakers" in marriage. While no two relationships are exactly the same, there are indeed certain problems that often prompt spouses to file for divorce. It's not so much about what exact issues have caused serious problems in your relationship as it is about whether you have a strong support network to rely on, no matter what you ultimately decide to do.

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.

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