Family Law encompasses the following areas:
The decision to divorce and end a marriage can be a difficult one during a trying time. The custody and parenting time of one’s children is a paramount concern, and therefore it is important to proceed in the best interests of the children. Financial considerations are the other aspect of divorce that can be stressful and require careful planning. Consultation is recommended to explore all options about the best manner to proceed.
In the contemplation of marriage, it may be necessary to protect pre-nuptial assets and address estate planning issues that may be relevant for blended families. Consultation is necessary for each individual situation, and what tailored prenuptial agreement may be needed.
If unmarried parents decide to separate, custody and parenting time for the child or children needs to be established. In the State of Minnesota, mothers are presumed to have sole legal and physical custody until a custody matter is pursued in court and the court issues an order. It is important for both mothers and fathers to have an understanding of their rights surrounding custody, parenting time, and child support obligations.
Third Party Custody
Based on each family’s unique situation, a child may be raised or supported by other important family members, often a grandparent or other important relative. In the event of dispute about what important family members may be involved in raising a child, court intervention may be necessary when family plans cannot be maintained. Consultation is recommended to explore legal options.
If you have been served with a notice of a child support hearing, for establishment of child support, you need legal representation. Child support hearings only address the issues of child support, and not the rights of custody and parenting time, which may also need to be visited. Legal consultation is recommended to understand all options and how to proceed.
Whether it is a stepparent adoption or adoption through an agency, the necessary petition and legal documentation must be filed to finalize the adoption process. A background check and home study may be required. When ready to proceed with pursuing adoption, a consultation can address any questions about the process.
Modification of Custody or Parenting Time
Often custodial determinations and parenting time allocations that are court ordered in a divorce or child custody matter cannot contemplate future changes in life circumstances. Whether it is a relocation to a different state, a move within the state, ongoing safety concerns in the other parent’s home, or a child’s preference; it may be necessary to readdress custody or parenting time. A clear understanding of how the laws of the State of Minnesota apply to modifying custody and parenting time is necessary before initiating action.
Child Protection Matters/Termination of Parental Rights
The Government can file a request to have a child or children removed from a parents’ home or a parent’s home. Children may be placed in foster care or with another family member or the other parent, depending on the gravity of the safety concerns. The Government or a parent may pursue termination of the other parent’s rights, based on the other parent’s conduct. Every parent is entitled to representation, even if that parent was not the cause for concern in commencing the child protection matter, as each parent can have their rights to his or her child or children substantially affected.
It may be necessary for a parent to seek guardianship/conservatorship of a minor that has a diagnosis that impacts his or her ability to make daily decisions and handle finances for the foreseeable future. As a son or daughter of an elderly parent, it may be necessary to seek guardianship/conservatorship if that elderly parent is developing dementia or has received some other diagnosis that impacts his or her ability to make daily living decisions and handle his or her own finances.
Order for Protection
An order for protection is sought to protect an individual from a significant other or family member that is perpetrating domestic violence. Laura Schultz has represented both petitioners seeking to get an order for protection to protect themselves or their children, and represented respondents at a contested hearing challenging the request for an order for protection. Orders for protection are necessary to protect those in danger, and are not to be utilized as a tool to gain advantage in a divorce proceeding.
Harassment Restraining Order
A harassment restraining order can be sought to prevent contact from an individual who has engaged in a pattern of conduct that is intrusive or unwanted. Laura Schultz has represented individuals at contested hearings seeking to get a harassment restraining order, and has represented individuals at a contested hearing challenging the request for an order for protection.