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Minneapolis Family Law Blog

Actress Kelly Rutherford's child custody dispute continues

Minnesota residents might have heard about the lengthy child custody dispute between 'Gossip Girl" actress Kelly Rutherford and her ex-husband Daniel Giersch. The 46-year-old actress has been trying to get a judge to order her two children returned to the United States for the past few years. In 2012, a judge in California ruled that Rutherford's 8-year-old son and 6-year-old daughter should remain in Europe with their father until his visa problems were resolved.

Before the judge's order in 2012, Rutherford and Giersch were sharing joint custody. However, things changed when Giersch was denied entry to the United States, and a judge made the decision to award him physical custody. Although Rutherford has fought to regain custody, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ruled on July 23 that the state of California no longer has jurisdiction in the case.

How Minnesota’s best interests factors are changing

Tomorrow is the first day of August, and it is also the day Minnesota’s new “best interests of the child” factors go into effect. If you are at all familiar with child custody laws, then you know that all child custody decisions are made based on what is in the best interests of the child.

In order to determine what is in the child’s best interests, state lawmakers have established 13 factors that are found in Minn. Stat. Section 518.17, subd. 1. Many of the factors have been in place since the late 1970s. Of course, the times have changed greatly since then, so it was decided that the 13 factors needed a facelift.

Prioritizing finances over hurt feelings during a divorce

While the end of a marriage is understandably difficult and painful for many people in Minnesota, a divorce often means one needs to make important financial decisions and reevaluate priorities. This means individuals must attempt to think without the emotions that often surrounds the divorce process.

It is important to consider one's financial situation before signing a divorce decree to figure out what the future will look like after the separation process is complete. Figuring out a post-divorce budget is crucial to avoid being overextended. Many people forget two parties contributed to a married lifestyle, and changes may be necessary after a divorce.

For safety's sake, Hennepin County sets up custody swap spots

Security is a big issue for everyone on a lot of different fronts. It doesn't matter if you live in the suburbs of the Twin Cities or in one of the safest neighborhoods in Minneapolis. The days when you could simply leave the front door open are gone.

Issues don't get any easier when matters related to child custody are concerned. Indeed, very often safety concerns become even more important. If the parents involved aren't on good terms, they can be afraid for themselves and their children. Even where child custody details appear to be worked out and settled, the moments of required parental interaction can be laced with tension.

Do you know the key questions to ask about property division?

The decision to divorce is typically not an easy one to reach. Very likely, the motive for it is an emotional one. Only after the process has started might the parties involved begin to appreciate what's needed to make sure everyone understands and is prepared to address the intricate details, especially in cases of high asset divorce.

Because of the nuances of the process and the often complicated structures related to asset ownership in high-profile marriages it tends to be a good idea to work with an experienced group of professionals that includes not just your attorney, but also other professionals with expertise in making sure all assets are accounted for and properly valued.

It's hard to know what paternity confirmation will bring

The courts giveth and the courts taketh away. That's not intended to put the legal system on a par with some higher power, but it does reflect the influence that a judge can wield in some cases, and why it's so important to be working with an attorney with depth of experience in family law.

What can happen on one hand is what we described in a post a little over a year ago. It involved a case in which a Minnesota man was ordered by the state of Nebraska to pay a steep increase in child support for a son that was not his.

Are there reasons to say no to an ENE?

Family law is constantly evolving. There are a lot of driving forces behind the changes that seem to come down the pike here in Minnesota. Cost is always a big factor in any legal proceeding and family law actions are no exception.

There are also the emotion-evoking elements associated with a divorce, property division, paternity, child support and child custody to consider. And it's important to recognize that society's views and attitudes around what family means seem to be shifting all the time, too. Add all the factors together and the reasons for change start to become clear.

Many reasons support a decision to draft a prenuptial agreement

About a year ago, we posted here about a trend that was being noticed among family law practitioners around the country. It had to do with the increasing number of cases in which couples were adding social media clauses to prenuptial agreements.

It may be interesting to Minnesota readers that the trend has not waned. Indeed, it has apparently become so prevalent that it is now cited by at least one source as one of the most popular reasons why couples today decide to get prenuptial agreements.

Do you know how the 2015 legislative session changed custody law?

The one thing constant in life is change. So goes the old adage. And it's not just in our individual lives that change is prevalent. It happens in the law, as well. With every legislative session on Capitol Hill in St. Paul, there are bound to be many changes to the legal code that have wide-ranging effects.

When the legislation sparks a lot of controversy or involves disagreements over tax dollars, the issue generates a lot of news coverage. When the issue is something that has more limited effect, often the matter never even shows up as a blip on the radar screens of news outlets.

Husband's dementia now used as a foil by others in divorce battle

A judge in another state acknowledges he's dealing with a very unique divorce case. While the action is happening in a state other than Minnesota, the issues at play are such that it might be something readers of this blog might find interesting, so we are sharing it here. 

One thing that makes this high asset divorce particularly unique, says the judge in Florida, is that the plaintiff has dementia. He isn't sure who the current president is. He's not sure what the year is. But he says he's sure he wants a divorce from the woman he married in 2000. It apparently was the second marriage for the husband and wife.