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Family Law

Divorce, child custody, property division, and child support lawyer representing clients throughout the Lake Chanhassen area

DIVORCE

The end of a marriage can be a confusing and extremely difficult experience. Emotions run high, and you may feel overwhelmed by uncertainty regarding the future of you and your family.

While every divorce is different, there are some general areas that you may encounter. These areas include, but are in no way limited to:

  • Child support
  • Custody determinations
  • Visitation/Parenting time
  • Real property division (who gets the house/cabin)
  • Personal property division (including cash/bank accounts and possessions)
  • Name changes
  • Spousal maintenance (sometimes called alimony)
  • Pension and retirement distributions
  • Tax payments
  • Paternity
  • Business interest distribution
  • Harassment/Orders for protection
  • Mediation, trial, and arbitration
  • Post-divorce decree modifications
  • Insurance (health, dental, life) both during a separation and post-divorce

CUSTODY DETERMINATION AND MODIFICATION

More than any issue, custody tends to be the primary area of concern among divorcing couples with children. There are two types of custody: physical custody (where the child spends their time) and legal custody (which parent gets to make decisions regarding the child’s healthcare, education, and religious upbringing). Custody can be sole (one parent makes the decisions) or joint (parents cooperate in the decision-making process). Custody determinations are made as a part of a divorce, but if you were never married to your child’s other parent, you may need to have a court determine custody labels for your family.

Some of the typical areas relating to custody determination include:

  • Initial custody determinations
  • Whether to pursue joint or sole custody
  • Legal or physical custody modifications
  • Parenting time modifications
  • Third-party custody petitions (often, but not always, this involves grandparents)
  • Termination of custodial rights
  • Custody mediation and litigation

CHILD SUPPORT

Minnesota law divides child support into three broad categories: basic support (cash one spouse receives from the other each month for payment of child-related expenses), medical support (payment of expenses related to your children’s health, dental, and optical care), and child care (payment of day care costs for your children). Child support is calculated according to each parent’s monthly income and ability to pay, the costs associated with raising your child, and the number of overnights your child spends with each parent.

Some common issues which arise in child support disputes include:

  • Child support petitions for unmarried parents
  • Support determinations during a divorce
  • Trial, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution
  • Modification of child support (increase or decrease)
  • Reduction or termination of child support
  • Enforcement of an already existing child support order, including contempt motions
  • Custody and parenting time and its effects on child support
  • Budgeting in order to meet your child’s monthly needs
  • The effects of a paternity adjudication on child support

Child support can be one of the most technically-complex aspects of family law. Parents often feel confused or anxious about dealing with child support determinations, which is why you should make sure that you hire our lawyers at the Lang Law Office to ensure that the interests of both you and your child are looked after.

PROPERTY DIVISION

The law recognizes marriage as an economic union between two spouses. However, when a marriage comes to an end, property has to be fully allocated between the ex-spouses. While some spouses are able to decide between themselves how best to divide their marital estate, tensions can arise, and disagreements can cause anger and frustration in an already trying time. Minnesota law divides marital property in a way that is “fair and equitable.” What is important to note, however, is that this does not always mean “equally.” Some of the primary considerations with respect to the division of property as part of a divorce or separation include:

  • What to do with the marital home and other real estate
  • How to divide joint and non-joint bank accounts
  • How to divide pensions and other retirement accounts
  • What to do with other valuable possessions (vehicles, wedding rings, etc.)
  • How to address concerns regarding family businesses (including valuation, sale, continued operation)
  • How to decide who pays debts incurred by either party during the marriage
  • Cohabitation agreements for unmarried partners
  • Antenuptial Agreements (sometimes called prenuptials/“prenups”)

Property division can be one of the most complex and time-consuming aspects of a divorce. Oftentimes, clients do not want to think about how to value a piece of property, and risk placing themselves at risk of an unfair deal in the name of “getting it over with.” If you have questions or concerns about the process of property allocation, you should speak with a lawyer who can help guide you through the process.

HIGH-CONFLICT FAMILY LAW

Despite your best efforts, family law tends to be an arena of high conflict and tension. While many couples attempt to settle issues out of court, some find that the acrimony of a divorce or custody dispute makes conflict unavoidable. If you find yourself in a similar situation, you need a lawyer capable of ensuring that your interests are protected, and that you have someone in your corner when you enter the courtroom.

Many of the other areas of family law discussed on this page may involve contentious disputes and litigation. While we try to always keep clients out of the courtroom, both to spare them the expense, and to spare their family the trauma that is often tied to lengthy court proceedings, you may find that litigation is unavoidable. If you find yourself in that situation, you want to make sure that you have an attorney who will zealously protect your interests and strive to ensure you get the best result possible.

DISCUSS YOUR FAMILY LAW CASE WITH AN ATTORNEY

Contact the Lang Law office today to discuss your Family Law issues. We will provide a complete evaluation of your case and help you understand your legal options. You can reach us by phone at 952-470-6361 or via e-mail.