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Family Law

Family law is a broad area of law that assists people when they decide to separate from their partner, or after they have separated and a new issue comes up that needs to be resolved. 

Once partners have decided to separate, there are many things to take into consideration:
* Who will get what property (the house, retirement accounts, bank accounts, personal property)?
* If you have children, how the children will spend time between their parents, does that mean someone will pay child support, and if so, how much?
* Will one party receive spousal maintenance (alimony)?

The answers to the above questions are different if you were married to your partner or not.  They also vary depending on the length of the marriage and the circumstances of your family.

These can be very difficult questions to answer: not only legally but also emotionally.  Claire understands that some decisions need to be made emotionally, not logically.  Claire knows how important it is to have an attorney who understands both the legal and emotional aspects of family law – and she can help you.

Below are the areas of family law that Claire can help you with:

Divorce/Dissolution of Marriage
Divorce is the legal process that separates a married couple.  The Divorce divides the assets, and if there were children during the marriage, determines who has what type of custody.  The Divorce process can be relatively short (a few months) if the parties are in agreement, or can last much longer if the parties are not in agreement.

It is important to consult an attorney at the beginning of your divorce.  Claire can help you navigate the various decisions you need to make.

Spousal Maintenance
Spousal Maintenance is when one spouse gives the other spouse a monthly amount of money to help meet their needs.  Spousal Maintenance will not occur in every marriage.   It is determined by the first spouses’ needs and the second spouses’ ability to pay.

Property Division
Property Division is the process of dividing marital property.  This may include retirement, the homestead, cash-flow (Spousal Maintenance), stocks, bonds, vehicles, or personal property, to name a few.  When dividing property after a marriage, it is important to first determine what is marital property and what is not marital property.  Claire can help you determine what must be divided, and if you have property which will not be split.

Child Custody
There are two types of Custody in Minnesota: Physical Custody and Legal Custody.  Physical Custody determines the day-to-day care of your child.  Legal Custody determines the major decisions for your child, such as religion, education, and medical decisions.  You can have either Joint or Sole Custody for both Physical and Legal Custody.

Custody is a different determination than Parenting Time.  One parent can have both Sole Physical and Sole Legal Custody, and the other parent can still have Parenting Time with their child.  Parenting Time is the actually time you spend with your child.

Custody issues can arise out of Divorce or Paternity proceedings.  Custody may need to be changed or modified after the Divorce or Paternity case has happened as well.

Child Support
Child Support is the legal obligation of the parents to provide financially for their children.  Child Support in Minnesota is calculated based on the parents’ income, childcare expenses, medical insurance costs, as well as other factors.

The Minnesota Child Support Calculator can be found HERE and is a good tool to help calculate the total obligation.  While most Child Support actions are straightforward, they can be complicated by many factors including: self-employment, children from other relationships, different parenting schedules for different children, and county assistance to name a few.

Paternity Actions
A Paternity Action occurs when two people have a child together when they are not married.  The Paternity Action legally determines who the father of the child is.  The Paternity Action may set up custody, parenting time, and child support, or only one.  It may be started by the child’s mother, father, or the county the child lives in if the child is receiving county assistance.

Estate Planning


Family Law