A divorce will be one of the most stressful experiences you go through. But divorce can solve a broken marriage. Divorce gives you a managed process for wrapping up your marriage and moving on with your life.
As you go through the divorce process, your divorce lawyer will run across many issues. These issues are the same whether you have been married for a few months or for several decades.
Here are five of the most common issues that arise during a Minnesota divorce.
The Divorce Process
During a divorce, you and your divorce lawyer will present evidence and arguments to resolvefive overarching issues:
- Child custody
- Parenting time schedule
- Child support
- Property division
- Spousal support
Within each of these issues, a family court judge will need to address several questions, such as:
- Where Will the Kids Live?
Most parents who are going through a divorce worry about their relationship with their children. Fortunately, in Minnesota, parents can preserve as much of that relationship as possible.
In Minnesota, the parents need to present a custody arrangement and parenting time schedule that serves the best interest of the children. If the proposed plan serves the children’s best interests, the children can spend time living with both parents as agreed.
If the parents do not agree to custody and parenting time, or if the judge believes that their plan will not serve the children’s best interests, the judge will issue a custody order following a trial. The judge will still presume that the parents should share joint legal custody. But you and your divorce lawyer will lose the ability to help craft the custody and parenting time order and leave those decisions to the judge.
- How Much Time Will I Get with the Kids?
Judges are not required to give parents equal time with their children in a custody and parenting time order. But you should expect to share time with your co-parent. For example, your children may live with your ex-spouse during the school week and live with you on the weekends and school holidays.
- Can I Get Child Support?
- Add together the parents’ incomes
- Calculate the total amount to support the child based on the total income
- Split the total amount based on each parent’s separate income and overnight parenting time
- Order the parent with a greater support amount to pay the other parent
So in a vastly oversimplified example, suppose that a judge determines your children need $1,500 per month based on the combined income of you and your ex-spouse. This number expects each parent to incur $750 in expenses every month to raise the children.
But if your ex-spouse earns more than you do and you have equal parenting time, the judge may allocate $1,000 to your ex-spouse and $500 to you. To even things up, your ex-spouse would pay you $250 per month. That way, each of you has $750 every month to spend on the children. For your ex-spouse, the $750 comes from their income. For you, $500 comes from your income, and $250 comes from a child support payment from your ex-spouse.
- Will We Split the Property Evenly?
Minnesota does not necessarily split marital property evenly. The state uses a doctrine called equitable distribution to divide a couple’s property. Instead of dividing property exactly equally, the court splits the property based on several fairness factors, including each spouse’s age, health, and employability.
Thus, a spouse who contributed to the marriage by caring for the children might not have the same earning potential as the other spouse. As a result, the stay-at-home spouse might receive the house in the divorce so that they have a place to live.
- Do I Have to Pay Alimony?
Alimony, also called spousal maintenance, is not awarded in every case. Whether you pay or receive alimony will depend on the economic situation of you and your spouse and the length of your marriage.
A judge might order maintenance in many situations, including:
- Evening out a disparity in the income of the spouses
- Compensate a spouse who gave up a career for the schooling or career of the other spouse and who no longer has the same earning potential they would have if they stayed in the workforce
- Support a spouse until they can finish school or complete job training to become self-supporting
The judge’s order will determine how much maintenance gets paid and for how long. For example, if the judge orders your ex-spouse to pay alimony so you can complete college, the alimony order will probably end the payments when you graduate.
Schedule a Consultation with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer
Addressing these issues could require knowledge of family law and experience negotiating a fair arrangement. To discuss how these issues might affect you in your Minnesota divorce, contact Johnson Turner Legal to book a Quick Guidance Call.