truths about mediaion

Truths About Mediation

1.TRUTH- Mediation is cheaper than litigation. Yes, if you use a good mediator, that is experienced in family law, you can and should save SUBSTANTIAL sums of money. It is far cheaper to spend a day or two in mediation, even with your attorney present, that in trial.
2.TRUTH- Mediated Agreements work – By coming to an agreement yourself, rather than having a Judge decide your case for you, you have allowed yourself to be in charge of your own life. An agreement that you make, with your partner, is usually going to work and keep working far longer than an order someone else makes that does not even know you.
3.TRUTH- Mediation can and does let you control the outcome. A good mediator is one that facilitates you and your partner to come to an agreement that fits your own family, not the Judges family, the mediator’s family or your lawyer’s family.

myths about mediation

Myths About Mediation

1. MYTH- A Mediator can be used instead of an attorney. Many people think they will “just skip a lawyer and go to a mediator instead”. Since a mediator cannot give you legal advice, the person that goes to a mediator without talking to their own attorney does not know what he/she is giving up. As a family law attorney, Debra has often had to help people try to get back what they gave up in mediation without a lawyer.
2.MYTH- A mediator can draft your legal documents. Beware of mediators acting as lawyers. They can not draft your legal documents. Why? A mediator cannot be your lawyer. More than once, Debra has had to “fix” cases where the legal documents have been “written up” by a mediator that was not an attorney. Usually they are incorrect, poorly drafted, and set out in such a confusing manner, that Courts will not take the documents.
3.MYTH- A Judge Knows Better – NOT TRUE- Many people will say, “well, too bad, we can just let the Judge decide”. These same people do not know that the Judge does not want to decide and is often very unhappy that they have to decide the case. Many Judges get annoyed and exasperated with parents that cannot make joint decisions about their own children. A tired and exasperated person deciding your children’s future is not how one wants to have their children’s childhood decided.

Divorce & Life Insurance

Divorce & Life Insurance

Hello, periodically, we like to update our clients with legal news we think may affect them.

​Today I want to address the issue of life insurance on the other parent.  Some times parents or former spouses receiving spousal support, want the support payments to be guaranteed by life insurance.  Meaning, that if the parent or ex-spouse owing you child support or life insurance dies before their  support obligation ends to you-  you will still have the life insurance benefit to fall back on and will not be totally out of luck if the support payor dies prematurely.

Two things to remember, if you are using life insurance that named you as a beneficiary before the divorce, that life insurance must be updated. The spouse obligated to pay you support must execute a new designation and rename you as beneficiary.

Once the divorce is entered, the divorce automatically revokes all beneficiary designations, including you if you were on the policy. This applies to wills and other beneficiary designations.

Secondly, you should have the other parent’s obligation stated in the divorce decree or paternity Order.  Why?  Because if the other parent fails to keep the life insurance and then dies, you would then have a claim against the deceased parent or ex-spouses estate.   Also, if your decree orders the other party to keep life insurance that may overcome a lack of change of beneficiary.

Prior Lake Mediation Attorneys

I Have To Attend An “ICMC” What Is That?

When couples get to divorce court, they find that they are required to attend various meetings. The meetings are labeled in terms that even the lawyers have trouble remembering.

An ICMC stands for Initial Case Management Conference. It is a meeting. Plain and simple, you, your attorney, your spouse and that person’s attorney, go to District Court. You will meet the Judge that is now your Judge until you are divorced. During this meeting, the Judge will ask your lawyer and you questions. The questions are designed to find out, what are the areas you and your spouse do not agree upon. After that information comes to light, the Court will inquire as to what type of ADR- ( here we go again) ( Alternative Dispute Resolution) method you would like to participate in with your spouse and attorney. You may attend an SENE or FENE or both. What??????

Yes, more letters standing for more meetings. The SENE and FENE are early neutral evaluations, one dealing with children and one dealing with money. S= social and F= financial. The person conducting these evaluations is an attorney, experienced in family law, such as our firm. That person will tell you, based upon his/her experiences, what will likely happen to you in Court.

Clear as mud right? Just know that the faster you attend the meetings, and the more you listen, the faster your divorce will be over. Good Luck.

Military Divorce

May I Divorce My Spouse Who Is In The Service?

The short answer is no. During World War II the United States enacted a federal law to prevent the soldier from being divorce while in the service. The law was called the Soldier’s and Sailor’s Relief Act of 1940. Congress felt the service members fighting in World War II, did not need the emotional upset of their spouse divorcing them while in battle.

The law also suspended other civil actions such as it suspended collection of most judgments.

In December of 2003, Congress expanded the protections for military personnel by enacting the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act. Now, in most cases, the family of an active duty soldier may not be evicted from their apartment if the rent is less than $1,200 a month. The Act also limits interest accrued against credit cards, in many cases to 6% for active duty soldiers. The solider may not be subject to a default judgment.

Spouses may not obtain a divorce from an active duty solider, while on active duty, by default. A case in point is a spouse that served his wife with divorce papers while on leave. The solider returned to duty in Afghanistan and could not serve an Answer. The husband then defaulted her in Court. The Court did not know the wife was on active duty and granted the divorce. Fortunately we were contacted by the solider and were able to reopen the case.

If your family member is in the military, be sure to know that the solider does have special rights not available to civilians.

Filing for Divorce

Where Should I File My Divorce?

The wife lives in Burnsville. The husband lives in Minneapolis. Burnsville is located in Dakota County. Minneapolis is located in Hennepin County. Where should the parties divorce be venued? Venue is location. A divorce must be filed in a County where one of the litigants lives or resides. Therefore, in this case, the divorce could be filed in either Dakota County or Hennepin County. It could not be filed in Ramsey County, because neither party lives in Ramsey County.

Are there advantages to one county over the other? The law is the same throughout the state. However, the administration of the law may be different from county to county. The difference in administration merely means that the way the case will be administered or may be different from one county to another.

An example of difference in administration is that some counties assign Judges to cases and other counties do not. In some counties, you will see the same Judge every time you appear in Court. The idea being that by having one Judge, the Judge will get to know you and your case. Other counties do not assign Judges. Thus, you will likely see a different Judge every time you appear in Court. Which administration practice is better? Again, “it depends” on the facts and circumstances of your individual case and your attorney’s preference.

Usually one does not have a choice as both parties live in the same County. But if you are able to choose venue, it would be a good idea for you to discuss the matter with your attorney, prior to commencing your case.