In most states, a child can never decide where he or
she will live. Minnesota family law statutes are no exception.
Instead, a determination with regard to physical custody is made based
on what is in the child’s "best interests." Certainly the child’s wishes
may be considered as part of that analysis and as the child matures that
opinion carries greater weight.
At the time of my divorce, I was ordered to pay alimony. Since then, my
ex has doubled his/her salary. Must I continue to pay alimony?
If a Court order requires payment of alimony, the
alimony may only be terminated when the Court issues another order
terminating the obligation. Generally, this may be accomplished by
filing a Motion seeking a termination (or in the alternative, a
reduction) of alimony. The motion is usually supported by an affidavit
describing for the court the financial circumstances at the time alimony
was awarded contrasted with the current circumstances. If there has been
a substantial change in the financial circumstances of the parties, the
alimony may be reduced or eliminated.
My ex hid assets
during the discovery phase of my divorce. New facts have come to light.
What can I do?
A divorce decree may be reopened with regard to the
division of assets if is determined that assets were not fraudulently
concealed. If a determination is made that fraud has occurred, the Court
will often punish the party concealing the assets by awarding the asset
to the other party and/or awarding attorneys fees. Generally, as part of
the discovery process each party signs disclosures under oath indicating
that they have disclosed all marital assets. These disclosures may take
the form of Interrogatory Answers or Sworn Statements as to Assets and
I think my child support is too high. How do I get
In order to reduce your child support, you must bring
the matter before the Court by filing a Motion with supporting
affidavits which demonstrate that a substantial change has occurred in
your financial circumstances. It is important to remember that, in most
states, child support cannot be lowered retroactively. As a result, you
must file your motion as soon as a change occurs in your finances.
My ex wants to move out of state with my children. Do I have any rights,
or can he/she just take my children away from me?
State statutes generally require that the custodial
parent must reach an agreement with the other parent or seek court
permission by filing a motion before regarding relocating with the child
out of state. If a Court agrees to allow the relocation, the visitation
schedule and payment of costs related to visitation are also likely to
be modified to reflect the changed circumstances. This may result in
longer periods of visitation for the non-custodial parent in the
summers, holidays and during school breaks.
My ex recently quit his job and is seeking to reduce child support and
alimony payments. Can he do this?
Imputation of income is a harsh result where the Court
requires a party to pay spousal maintenance (or child support) based on
earning capacity rather than true income. For example, if one party
quits a job and reduces his/her income voluntarily or if a party fails
to seek gainful employment though able-bodied, the Court may base that
person’s income on earning capacity. Oftentimes, the person’s prior work
history plays a pivotal role in determining what they have the ability
The Court may determine that imputation of income is
not appropriate where the unemployment or underemployment:
- is temporary and will ultimately lead to an
increase in income; or
- represents a bona fide career change that
outweighs the adverse effect of that parent's diminished income on