How Can I Handle Divorce As a Parent?
Choosing to divorce your spouse is one of the most serious choices a couple can make — and this decision is even more difficult when you have children together. If you are starting the divorce process, keep reading for advice from our expert attorneys at Johnson / Turner Legal.
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Child Support and Custody
As you start this life-changing process, you can start talking about assets, gather paperwork, and plan your child custody agreements to avoid any surprises when your paperwork is finalized. Additionally, your co-parent may be mandated to pay child support depending.
How is Child Support Awarded in MN?
In Minnesota, child support is decided through an “income shares” model and is broken down into three main categories:
- Basic support: Includes the costs of everyday life for a child, such as housing, food, clothing, transportation, education, etc.
- Medical support: Ensures that children remain healthy by providing for doctor appointments and dental checkups, as well as containing provisions for emergencies (i.e., dictating that parents will split the cost of a medical emergency 50/50).
- Childcare support: Governs the costs of services, like daycare or childcare facilities, that look after children while the parents are at work.
Child support payments in Minnesota typically end when all children from the marriage have turned 18 years of age or when they graduate from high school — whichever occurs first.
Once your child graduates from high school and starts to consider college, any financial contributions from each spouse are up to you to decide unless you’ve pre-set terms regarding college tuition in your divorce agreement.
Adopted Children and the Divorce Process
When a couple decides to bring a child into their family, they’re changing a child’s life. However, if their marriage doesn’t work out, custody agreements must now be arranged.
Depending on where you are in your adoption process, one spouse could continue the adoption process on their own. Therefore, the ex-spouse that does not continue with adoption proceedings will not gain any parental rights for the child — including visitation and custody rights. They also will not be subject to child support payments under Minnesota law.
However, choosing to divorce before your adoption is complete could raise concerns in the eyes of the adoption agency — including how a change in the child’s new home life may affect them.
How Adoption Types Could Impact the Court’s Decision
Just as there are many reasons why a couple may adopt, there are also many different reasons why a child may be put up for adoption, as well as complexities within the adoption itself that could impact your divorce.
Some factors that could affect the outcome of your divorce and custody rights include:
- Adoption by the wishes of both biological parents: If the birth parents of the child made a request for their child to be adopted by a married couple, your adoption could be halted.
- Step-parent adoptions: If you’re a birth parent and your soon-to-be ex-spouse wishes to adopt your child, the adoption could be halted.
- International adoptions: Depending on the country your child originated from, your adoption could be halted if the country has regulations about adopting a child to a married couple.
Explaining Divorce to Your Children
If you have children with your spouse, you should consider sitting them down and explaining to them what is going on, so that they don’t feel upset, scared, or left out of the conversation. It’s best to do this after you and your partner have discussed your options and have had a chance to talk about your new situation.
No matter how stressful thinking of divorce is for you and your spouse, chances are, it’s even more stressful for your child. Explaining what’s to come will help your child feel more at ease.
Seek Out Legal Advice
The divorce process can be a difficult and emotionally taxing process for any couple, but there’s always help available. If you do decide to proceed with a divorce, you should consult with an experienced attorney so that they can help guide you.
An attorney can help communicate between you and your significant other, as well as inform you of what documents you’ll need, help sort out child custody, child support, and alimony payments, and any complications that arise.
Minnesota Divorce Mediation and Representation
At Johnson / Turner Legal, our Minnesota family law firm can help navigate your rights and walk you through the divorce process. We offer mediation services and can also help you file for an order modification if your circumstances change.
Contact our team today to schedule a consultation with one of our expert attorneys: (320) 299-4249