Family law is a broad term that includes any of the following legal matters:
- Dissolution of marriage (divorce)
- Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements
- Paternity, child custody, and child support
- Restraining orders
- Child protection
When you have a family law matter, life can rapidly change, spiking stress and fear of the future. You may wonder where you will live and how you will afford to live separately from your spouse. You may fear not seeing your children again. You wonder who will get the house and how to divide your assets. At this difficult time, you need an experienced family law attorney to tell you about the law and to calm your fears.
Nothing is more important than your children in a family law matter. In both dissolution and paternity cases, you will address issues including legal custody (decision making), physical custody (residence), and parenting time. You will take a custody class to learn more about the impact of the legal proceeding on your children. Your experienced family law attorney will work with you to focus on the best interests of your children.
In a dissolution of marriage case, you also will divide your marital estate (assets and debts). You and your spouse will be involved in creating a virtual snapshot of the estate by identifying all major assets and debts and assigning value to each. You and your spouse will consider options for a fair division of the estate. Minnesota is an equitable property state, meaning that the division of marital assets should be fair and equitable.
While our courts are established to make decisions regarding disputes, the courts often serve to approve the agreements of parties to a family matter. Agreements may be reached through various alternative dispute resolution methods. Every case is unique so what worked in one case may not work for you. Your family law attorney will draw upon experience to recommend tools that best suit your situation.
We will share several common questions about family law below.