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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

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Does your firm do “flat fees”?

Depending on your legal matter, Weinandt Law Office may be willing to represent you on either an hourly or a “flat fee” basis. Both hourly fees and flat fees require an upfront retainer. Flat fees are more common with criminal matters, and hourly fees are more common in family law matters. However, there are exceptions to both.

 

Can I get a FREE consultation?

Yes. Free consultations are generally given by phone. Free consultations are limited to 30 minutes. Anytime family law matters are involved, you should be prepared to give your name and the name of the opposing party in order to avoid conflicts. Your information is confidential.

 

Can I calculate my own child support?

It is possible, but it may be difficult. Generally, it is a good idea to at least attempt to calculate your own child support. The best tool for doing so can be found on-line at http://childsupportcalculator.dhs.state.mn.us/Calculator.aspx. Although you’ll find that the calculator asks for extensive information, you may want to start by simply addressing the questions about income, medical insurance, and the number of joint children. Even if you find that you cannot accurately calculate child support on your own, you will be benefited by seeing how the calculator generally works.

 

Do I still have to pay child support if I’m not being allowed to see my child?

Yes. Under Minnesota law, the fact that one parent wrongfully prohibits the other parent from seeing the child(ren) is not legal justification for not paying child support. Accordingly, if you are being denied parenting time, do not rely on such denial as an excuse to not pay child support. Rather, you must take legal action immediately to enforce your parental rights.

 

Will I or my spouse have to pay maintenance (alimony) after our divorce?

Maybe. While maintenance is probably the most “grey” area of divorce law, you can generally expect the following: 1) maintenance is more likely to be an issue in a divorce if you have been married for seven or more years; 2) the higher the income of the parties, the more likely maintenance will be an issue in a divorce; and 3) if one party is disabled in a way that effects that party’s ability to earn income, maintenance is more likely to be an issue in a divorce.

 

What County is my divorce going to be in?

You should plan on having your divorce in either the county that you live in, or the county that your spouse lives in (although usually both spouses will live in the same county). As a general matter, if you attempt to bring a divorce in a county where neither spouse lives, the court may likely grant a “change of venue” motion, forcing the divorce to proceed in a county where a party lives.

 

How does the court determine what parent should get custody of the child(ren)?

The Court determines custody by using various “factors” found in Minnesota Statutes that are referred to as the “Best Interest Factors.” Minnesota law requires that all the factors be considered and weighed by the court, without giving too much importance to just one factor. However, there have been decisions by Minnesota Courts that give extra emphasis to the factor that considers which, if any, parent has been the “primary caretaker” of the child(ren). The “Best Interest Factors” are listed in Minnesota Statute 518.17, which can be viewed on-line at https://www.revisor.leg.state.mn.us/statutes/?id=518.17.

 

Can I move out of state with the child(ren)?

Generally, you cannot move the child(ren) out of state unless either; 1) the other parent gives permission; OR 2) the Court gives permission after you bring a motion to request the move out of state.

 

Can I modify/change a prior court order regarding child support, custody, and/or parenting time?

You can try, but the court has the discretion on whether to change the order or keep it the same. Each of these issues (child support, custody, and parenting time) is treated differently for the purposes of requesting a modification. Child support is the most predictable, meaning that, as long as you can demonstrate that certain circumstances have changed, you will likely be allowed to modify child support. Parenting time schedules can be modified, and the court will generally consider the “best interest factors” in order to determine whether a modification of the parenting schedule is appropriate. Custody is the most difficult to modify. In fact, modifying custody requires that you actually bring a motion to request permission to bring a “custody modification” proceeding.