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Archive for September, 2008

The Basics Of Minnesota Divorce Law

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Minnesota is an ‘equitable distribution’ state. While most debt and property issues are typically settled between parties by a signed Marital Termination Agreement, in the event that the parties are unable to reach an agreeable settlement, the District Court will first determine which debt and property is to be considered as marital. After assigning a monetary value to this marital property and debt, the court will distribute the marital assets between the spouses in an equitable fashion. Equitable in this case does not necessarily mean the assets will be equally distributed between the parties but rather it will be allocated according to what is deemed fair by the District Court. The court bases its decision on several factors including the length of the marriage, age, health, occupation, employability, needs, liabilities, amount and sources of income of each party, opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets and any prior marriage of a party. The court also takes into the consideration the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or the contribution of each in any acquisition. It is presumed that both spouses contributed substantially to the acquisition of property and income while they were married. When deciding child custody issues pertaining to a divorce, the children’s best interest is the primary concern of the court. The court prefers if the parents can decide on the custody issues amicably, failing which the court bases its custody decision taking into consideration several factors including the reasonable preference of the child if the child is deemed to be old enough to express a preference. Other factors include the intimacy and interaction between each parent and the child; the child’s adjustment to school, home and community and the physical and mental health of all the individuals involved. Factors for determining child support include the financial resources, income, earnings and assets of the parents; the standard of living the child would have enjoyed if the marriage was still intact and the educational needs of the child as well as the child’s emotional and physical condition.