Cohabitation Alimony Reform Bill

Back when I was a paralegal in about 1998, I worked long and hard on a case where our client’s ex-spouse receiving maintenance had been co-habiting with her new significant other for years. The two of them even owned a business together and operated all their finances together. We were attempting to find grounds to reduce her monthly maintenance, but it was a long road digging through her monthly expenses trying to determine whether her need had decreased since the divorce.

Child support bill in the making

Currently in Minnesota, child support is calculated using three categories of parenting time. Basic child support starts with the assumption that the non-custodial has less than 10% of parenting time. A parent with more than 10% parenting time receives a 12% discount on basic child support to account for their time with the child and the expenses associated with that time. However, this category is wide, encompassing 10-45% parenting time with a child.

What happens to child support when a child emancipates?

A “child” under the Minnesota child support statutes means an individual under 18 years of age, an individual under age 20 who is still attending secondary school, or an individual who, by reason of physical or mental condition, is incapable of self-support. Generally, when a child turns 18, and is no longer in high school, child support will end automatically if child support is ordered in a specific amount per child. Minnesota Statute 518A.39, Subd 5 provides:

I need an aggressive divorce attorney!

Maybe you do and maybe you don’t. Every now and then, I have a potential client come to my office saying that they need an attorney who is aggressive and willing to stand up to the other party and their attorney. Often by “aggressive” they mean, combative, litigious, or maybe even threatening. In other words, a bully. More often than not, being a bully, especially in family court, does little more than slow down the process and increase the cost of the divorce.

Finding out about family law legislation

Every year, legislatures across the country introduce, consider, and pass legislation on family law issues.

Understanding what was introduced, what passed, and what did not can be confusing and complicated to understand. The National Conference of State Legislatures, which can be found at, has a search page that allows you to track the status of legislation in the current session and also review all the legislation that was passed in the previous year's session.

What is Potential Income in the context of child support?

Currently under Minnesota law, if a parent is voluntarily unemployed, underemployed, or employed on a less than full-time basis, or there is no direct evidence of any income, child support must be calculated based on a determination of potential income. Potential income can be calculated in one of three ways:
1. The parent's probable earnings level based on employment potential, recent work history, and occupational qualifications in light of prevailing job opportunities and earnings levels in the community.

How changes to the Minnesota parenting time law affects your parenting time

As of May 5th 2014, Minnesota Statute 518.17 subdivision 2 and Statute 518.175 subdivisions 1 and 5 have changed. How will this change in the law potentially affect your parenting time?

The changes in 518.17 subd. 2 make sure to explicitly write that there is no presumption that joint parenting is better than sole custody or vice versa except in cases of domestic abuse. The four relevant factors are kept the same from the old law in determining custody:

Moving a child out of state

After a divorce or custody proceeding, parents often wonder if they will ever be allowed to move out of state with their minor child. Sometimes job or other life changes lead a parent to contemplate moving out of state. However, in Minnesota, if the other parent has been granted parenting time in a prior order, then moving out of state may not be possible unless: 1) you obtain a court order allowing you to move, or, 2) you obtain the consent of the other party.

Cooperative divorce

Yes, there is such a thing as cooperative divorce. Cooperative divorce is a term which describes an approach divorce that parties agree to prior to beginning the process. In Cooperative Divorce, both Husband and Wife sign a document committing themselves to working cooperatively with each other at the start of the process.

What to do if you are stopped by the police

Here are four important things to remember if you are stopped by the police:

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • If you want to exercise that right, say so out loud.

  • You have the right not to be searched.
  • If you are asked whether you are willing to consent to a search, you can say no.

  • You can ask if you are under arrest.
  • If you are not under arrest, you have the right to calmly leave.

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