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Lakeville Family Law Attorney

 Divorce, Child Custody  & Family Law Lawyers 

 

Lakeville Family Law Attorneys Assisting Individuals with all Aspects of Family Law, Including Divorce, Child Custody, and Child Support

Family law disputes are unlike other legal disputes. Typically, they are much more emotional and complex than other cases, making it difficult for people to effectively advocate for themselves. Also, the stakes are very high. People who represent themselves in a family law dispute are usually at a disadvantage and could end up actually hurting their cause.

If you have a dispute involving divorce, child custody, or child support, you should reach out to an experienced Lakeville family lawyer as soon as possible. We can talk about your goals and come up with a plan for achieving them.

Our Lakeville Family Lawyers Can Help with Divorce

A divorce legally and financially unwinds a marriage and raises many difficult issues that you need to address. If you suspect that divorce is on the horizon, then you need to consider the following:

Division of marital property. A court will assume that the property you own when married is marital property. There are exceptions, such as any property you brought into the marriage or any gift or inheritance. However, marital property needs to be divided equitably, which means fairly. Most couples will divide property 50/50, but it is not required.

Division of marital debts. A couple’s debts might need to be divided as well. This can be complicated when you have a mortgage, for example, or one spouse took out the debt without the other’s knowledge. You should consult with an attorney for help deciding what debts to take on after divorce, if any.

Spousal support or alimony. When a couple divorces, one might find his or her standing of living experiences a dramatic drop. Alimony can provide a cushion. It is money one spouse pays to the other for a limited amount of time or indefinitely. Minnesota doesn’t award alimony automatically, so you need to make a compelling case for it.

We also have experience with legal separation. Divorce isn’t for everyone, and legal separation is an option you can consider. Some of our clients prefer legal separation because it can protect their right to certain benefits or for religious reasons. However, legal separation involves many of the same issues as divorce, such as custody, child support, and spousal support, so legal advice is helpful.

Our Lakeville Family Lawyers Can Help with Child Custody

One difficult issue to decide is child custody. There are actually two aspects of child custody in Minnesota:

  • Legal custody. This type of custody gives the parent the right to make important legal decisions, such as whether the child will get medical treatment, where they will go to school, and what religious upbringing they will have.
  • Physical custody. This type of custody gives the parent the right to control the child’s day to day actions.

Minnesota law has a strong preference for joint custody, meaning each parent will share legal custody and physical custody. This isn’t always possible, however.

One key issue that often needs to be resolved is determine with which parent the child will primarily live. If the parents do not live very near each other, then one parent will probably be the primary custodial parent, meaning the child will live with him or her most of the time. The other parent gets visitation, called “parenting time.”

Working out an acceptable parenting plan takes time and energy but is vital for heading off future conflicts. We will work closely with you to realize the custody plan that you prefer.

If parents cannot agree on custody, a judge must decide this issue based on the child’s best interests. A judge can look at any relevant factor and usually considers:

  • The child’s reasonable preferences, if the child is old enough
  • Each parent’s health and stability
  • How much each parent has been involved in the child’s upbringing to that point
  • How committed a parent is to provide for the child’s needs
  • How willing the parents are to work together
  • Any history of domestic violence
  • Any other factor that the judge finds helpful

Because the analysis involves multiple factors and is quite flexible, an attorney can make the difference by marshaling all helpful facts in your favor and explaining to a judge how you deserve custody.

Our Lakeville Family Lawyers Can Represent You in Your Child Support Dispute

The non-custodial parent typically must pay child support to the custodial parent each month. Child support does not depend on whether or not you ever see your child. You can completely cut the child out of your life but still owe child support.

Judges use the state’s formula to decide child support issues in Lakeville. The formula looks at several factors, such as each parent’s income, the amount of time the children spend with each parent, and the number of children supported. The formula then spits out a number which represents what the non-custodial parent must pay every month until the child becomes an adult.

Judges do have the discretion to go above or below the guideline amount. For example, if your child has large medical expenses because of a disability, then it might be appropriate to request more child support. Consult with your Lakeville family lawyer for more information.

Once a judge sets child support, you might need to modify it if circumstances change. For example, you might lose your job or become disabled. Requesting a modification is a complicated process because judges are not anxious to continually review existing child support orders. Your attorney can help with the process.

Contact a Lakeville Family Lawyer At Priest Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

Many people will do anything to avoid conflict, but sometimes a family law dispute is unavoidable. If your spouse hires an attorney, you need one too. Level the playing field by meeting with an experienced family lawyer in Lakeville to review your case.

Priest Law Firm has been practicing law for more than 20 years, and we have helped countless men and women go through a divorce or fight for custody. Our experience is broad, so please don’t hesitate to contact us. We offer a free, half-hour consultation to those who call 651-294-2023 or who submit our online contact form.

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