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Brainerd Minnesota Law Blog

Where a parent lives may influence a child custody case

Where and how a parent in Minnesota or anywhere else lives could determine if that parents gets custody of a child. For instance, an older child may need his or her own room instead of sharing it with a younger sibling. If a father is asking for custody of his daughter, the parent may need to ensure that she has privacy while in the house. The same is generally true for a mother looking for custody of her son.

Space concerns may be raised by a judge if a parent has multiple children. However, the law does take into account that finding suitable and affordable housing can be a challenge in many locations. Therefore, some leeway can be granted depending on the other factors in the case. When making a custody ruling, the best interest of the child will always be considered.

DUIs, the Miranda Warning and the Fifth Amendment

You just got off work at the bar and had a tall "shifty" to complete the day. You get in your car and head home. The lake looks magical as a a white fog lifts from it and glows in the moonlight.

The reverie is broken by blue and red lights and a very loud siren behind you. You pull over. Flashlight in hand, the officer approaches your car. 

The responsibilities of an executor

Some Minnesota residents may not find out until a loved one's death that they have been named as the executor under the testator's will, while others learn this well ahead of time. An executor has a number of responsibilities that include paying creditors, filing tax returns and paying what is owed, locating assets and distributing them to beneficiaries. If there are debts, it might be necessary to sell some assets to pay them off. The executor also has a fiduciary duty to manage the estate effectively. The tasks can seem overwhelming, but an executor can seek assistance from professionals, such as a financial adviser and an attorney, if needed.

Executors who know ahead of time about their role should ask some questions. They should find out where legal documents are as well as marriage certificates, tax returns, insurance records and other types of paperwork. If an executor does not anticipate stepping into the role for years, there should still be an ongoing conversation about money and the estate. Over time, the estate plan may need to be updated as the family and the testator's assets change.

Credit card debt increases as default rates fall

It appears that consumers in Minnesota and around the country are taking on more debt as the economy continues to grow. Total consumer debt in the United States has grown for 16 consecutive quarters and is now approaching $14 trillion according to the New York Federal Reserve's second quarter Household Debt and Credit Report. However, consumers seem to be coping with this increased debt load as default rates are essentially flat and credit card delinquencies are actually falling.

The figures reveal that credit card debt grew by about $14 billion in the second quarter of 2018 while the revolving debt default index, which is based on figures from Standard & Poor's and Experian, fell from 3.86 to 3.56. This figure stood at 9.15 in April 2015. This suggests that American consumers are able to manage their credit card balances despite paying interest rates that average nearly 17 percent.

Living together before marriage can increase the risk of a split

Minnesota couples might be surprised to learn that a new study has found that cohabitating before marriage might increase the long-term risk of divorce. While it seems logical that living together before marriage would help couples navigate the changes that marriage brings, researchers found that there was no evidence of this past the first year of marriage.

The study, which was published in the September issue of Journal of Marriage and Family, used data from women age 44 or younger who were in their first marriages from 1970 to 2015. Previous data had focused on the opposite, arguing that the 'premarital cohabitation effect" had disappeared. However, the study's research led to the conclusion that this was not true past the first year of marriage. They also argued that while couples who had not lived together before getting married faced a significant shock that they had to navigate when they began to live together, their risk of divorce only increased in the short term.

Minnesota man facing drug and witness tampering charges

A 40-year-old Minnesota man who is alleged to be a prominent figure in the Black P-Stone street gang has been charged with dealing drugs and witness tampering. Both of the counts against him are first-degree felonies. The man was taken into custody on the afternoon of Oct. 10 after prosecutors filed criminal complaints against him in Stearns County District Court.

The man was identified as a Black P-Stone member by officers with the Central Minnesota Violent Offender Task Force. The gang is suspected to be involved in the distribution and sale of what are described as wholesale amounts of methamphetamine and heroin in the St. Cloud area. VOTF officers say that they gathered evidence of the man's alleged illegal activities on Aug. 17 when a confidential informant purchased about 10.8 grams of heroin from him for $1,000 on Fourth Avenue South. The man is one of more than a dozen individuals police think are involved in the Black P-Stone's narcotics activities.

Access to new partners at work linked to divorce rates

The stress that people in Minnesota bring home from work sometimes contributes to marital breakups, but meeting new people at work could inspire divorces as well. A study that analyzed 30 years of data collected in Denmark identified a relationship between certain types of jobs and higher divorce rates. The opportunity to meet opposite sex partners at work produced more divorces among men and women in certain occupations.

The researcher behind the study said that the availability of potential partners at work showed a stronger relationship between men and divorce, but the link appeared among women as well, but to a lesser extent. Men in industries with a large female presence had a much greater chance of divorce than men who worked in male-dominated fields like construction. Women who worked in male-dominated fields also sought divorces more often than women surrounded by mostly women at work.

Age generally doesn't make divorce easier

Since 1990, the divorce rate for those over the age of 65 has tripled while it has doubled for those between the ages of 50 and 64. For older Brainerd residents and others contemplating divorce, ending a marriage is never an easy process to go through. Furthermore, it can have an impact on the the friends and family members of the estranged couple

Friends of a divorced person may feel obligated to withdraw as to not take sides when a marriage ends. Adult children may also have to adjust to a significant change in their family structure. As people get older, it becomes harder to replace relationships that were acquired and then lost. Therefore, they could be lonelier than others who have seen their marriages come and go. Even if an individual chooses to remarry, there is a chance that future marriages could fail.

Jumping To Conclusions

An incident occurred where the mayor was confronted on his own property by two drunk individuals. The police Lieutenant, who lead the investigation, knew about, but did not talk to one of the individuals. When the defense located that individual, his account of what happened contradicted the official police account, and the account of the other individual present. It appears that the lieutenant did not want to get this person involved as he would contradict the official account of what happened.

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