Bowden Cyr, PLLC - Attorneys At Law

Oakdale Minnesota Legal Blog

Avoid family law court trial by creating a parenting agreement

As you and your spouse embark on your divorce journey, you cannot help but to feel apprehensive about how your children will handle it. After all, as emotionally difficult as the marital breakup process may be for you and your spouse, it is just as difficult for the children to navigate.

However, many cases involving child custody in Minnesota resolve before ever heading to family law court. You can accomplish this by working with your soon-to-be ex-spouse to produce a mutually satisfactory parenting agreement.

How to co-parent after a divorce

Minnesota parents who get divorced will have to find ways to raise their children while separated. While this can be difficult, courts generally operate from the position that children should be encouraged to maintain a healthy relationship with both parents after divorce.

Parents can interfere with this if they are not careful. For example, exes should avoid making negative remarks about one another. Children pick up on this even when parents think they are being subtle. At its worst, this kind of behavior can cause children to feel they must pick a side. Parents should instead encourage their child's relationship with the other parent.

What Minnesota drivers should watch for on July 4

There is a wide variety of ways in which Americans can get hurt on the 4th of July holiday. Drunk driving is a serious problem as evidenced by data from Esurance and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) that indicates that 40 percent of all highway fatalities between 2007 and 2011 were caused by drunk drivers during the Independence Day holiday. Between June 30 and July 4, an estimated 37.5 million Americans will be driving 50 or more miles.

In addition to dangers on the highway, individuals could also harm themselves by not using fireworks safely. While a person may not die from a firework accident, he or she could still experience painful injuries to the head, face and ears. Mishandling fireworks could also lead to someone's fingers or hands being disfigured. Finally, those who are celebrating during the July 4 time period should be careful about eating and swimming.

Stopping distracted driving with the help of new tech

Minnesota residents may be disconcerted by the number of smartphone-using drivers. As distracted driving and, with it, the number of accidents increase, others are searching for ways to keep themselves from growing negligent behind the wheel. To this end, AT&T, Sprint and Verizon have all made free apps available that can silence incoming communications and disable the texting function while the user's car is in motion.

This may not be enough, though, because such apps do not prevent drivers from accessing social media networks or video games, such as Pokémon Go. However, two new devices may provide an answer. The need is great, but it all depends on whether the new technology will receive the wide marketing it deserves.

Documentary looks at child support and Black fathers

Child custody and support issues may be more complicated than they initially appear for many Minnesota families. Interaction with the family court system can be complicated by other social factors like race and poverty. The effect of the child support enforcement system on the relationships between fathers and children is explored in a documentary, "Where's Daddy?" The film looks specifically at the situation of African American fathers and how their relationships with their children have been affected by their involvement with the family courts and child support enforcement.

While there are many widely held beliefs about fathers who are behind on their child support payments, the majority of these men are living in poverty. One study by the Urban Institute found that 70 percent of all child support debt across the country is owed by non-custodial parents who make $10,000 or less each year. Because unpaid child support can lead to severe consequences like losing a job or even facing jail time, fathers in these circumstances may reduce their child custody time and face a dwindling relationship with their children along with the threat of legal, financial or criminal consequences.

Do you believe you are the better parent?

As your marital relationship began to crumble, your priorities in life may have shifted. Where you once may have held your spouse and children as the most important aspects of your life, you may now only think of the well-being of your kids. Your mind might be reeling thinking about how you can go about achieving the custody outcome best for them.

If you feel that gaining sole custody of your kids would be in their best interests, you will likely have a difficult road ahead of you. Many courts are beginning to give more favorable judgments toward joint custody so that each parent has a more equal part in the kids' lives. However, you may not feel that your children would benefit from such an arrangement. If so, you may need to prove that you are the better parent.

Why wealthy parents may want their children to sign prenups

Some children in Minnesota may feel pressured by their parents to have a future spouse sign a prenuptial agreement. However, this often has little to do with how the parents feel about that spouse and more to do with their concerns over protecting the family wealth.

Their children might not see it this way, and this is why it can be important for parents to start this conversation with their children while they are young adults. Planning ahead helps to keep the focus on the legacy and diverts it away from a focus on any one person. Parents may also frame the issue as being about making sure their children's children receive that legacy as well.

Study breaks down distracted driving rates by state

It's well-known that drivers distracted by mobile devices are more likely to cause vehicle accidents. Now, data recently published by Everdrive has identified which states have the highest rates of phone use behind the wheel. According to the data collected by the transportation safety app, Minnesota falls in the middle of the pack.

Drivers in the southeast part of the country are more likely to use their mobile devices while driving. Mississippi sits at the top of the list with more than 47 percent of all trips involving the use of a handheld device. Following closely behind are Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia. Drivers in all three states use their phones for more than 40 percent of their trips. Northeastern states don't fare much better. In fact, when including non-distraction factors like speeding and aggressive driving, Northeastern states are the least safe overall.

Past mistakes lead women to get educated about personal finance

Despite advances toward equality that women have made in the past century, more than half still leave financial decisions up to their husbands. Unfortunately, many Minnesota wives find out too late that not being involved in family finances is a big mistake. Women who don't know the specifics of their financial state may find some surprises when they get divorced.

Not all surprises are bad; some divorcing women learned that they had more money than they knew. Their husbands may have 401(k) accounts, real estate or investments they weren't aware of before they filed for divorce. However, the mere fact that these accounts existed without their knowledge could lead women in this situation to focus on their own financial education.

Dealing with finances during divorce

For people in Minnesota who decide to divorce, the financial aspects of the end of a marriage can be among the most challenging to resolve. Protecting one's assets is important in order to secure a positive financial future after divorce. There are a few steps that people can keep in mind in order to take financial precautions during this difficult period.

Opening personal bank accounts is often an important step. While many married couples rely on joint accounts, individual checking and savings accounts give each partner access to the funds they need to handle their immediate next steps. Similarly, it can be important to close joint credit cards and other joint accounts that accumulate debt. During the divorce, all marital debts will need to be divided; closing joint accounts helps prevent additional debt from being accumulated as divorce approaches.

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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