As some Minnesota parents get ready to file for divorce or fight for custody, they might overlook what could become an important asset their case -- the family calendar. Usually, people throw out their old calendars as the new year begins. If there are major legal decisions to be made, however, that calendar can be a valuable source for supporting evidence.
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.
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 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.
One of the toughest issues for attorneys and clients to talk about is fees. As in any other situation where a professional of any kind is hired, there is bargain, professional agrees to provide quality services to client, client agrees to pay professional. No one like paying out money, especially for criminal or family law situations. It is like paying to fix your car or your roof, your money goes to keep you where you are and avoid a bigger problem, not for something fun like a vacation or recreational vehicle. One of the most common complaints of clients about attorneys is fees, and one of the most common complaints of attorneys about clients concerns non-payment of fees.
How to avoid fee issues ruining the attorney client relationship? Both sides need to be upfront about what they need and expect. Attorneys need to have written agreements saying what they charge and terms of payment. If payment up front is required, which is common especially in family law, that needs to be communicated in writing and orally to the client. While it is not always possible to predict how much a case will cost, attorneys need to do their best to estimate costs and tell clients what they can do to control costs. If clients have a certain budget for a case, or concerns regarding costs and payment, they need to communicate those to the attorney up front. If a client can only afford 5 thousand for a case likely to cost at least 10, some other arrangement needs to be made or there will be a major conflict. Good communication avoids most fee issues between attorneys and clients. Ed
In this day and age most people accept that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. While gender bias remains, there are fewer and fewer roles that are seen as being just for women or men. The days of men having a limited role in raising children are over for most of us. But, family court seems to be a holdover from the old days for unmarried fathers. Too often, unmarried dads in this area are treated like possible threats to their children, even when they have never committed a crime.
The Rolling Stones said it best, you can't always get what you want. In fact, most of the time we do not get what we want. It is important to keep that in mind when deciding whether to make an agreement to resolve a case, or go to a trial. If you can get at least some of what you want in an agreement, there are some huge advantages to settling as opposed to letting a judge, or in some cases a jury decide.
You know what will happen, judges, and jurors are unpredictable, you do not know what they may do you could win big, or lose big.
The process of a trial, regardless of the result is generally unpleasant. In family court, you will hear the other parent, and their lawyer trash you in open court, often for hours on end. While it is true that you and your lawyer will get to trash the other parent, most people would rather avoid a mutual semi-public bashing.
In criminal court, if you lose you will be convicted, and likely go to jail or prison, for family court, your future with your children is likely at stake, or your financial security. The stress when the stakes are that high is very hard for many people to bear, to say nothing of the increased legal costs of contested cases.
Don't get me wrong, if there is no reasonable offer on the table, I am happy to go to trial with you, have done it hundreds of times. But, if I can negotiate a fair agreement for you give it some serious thought, by taking it you will avoid a lot of grief regardless of the result.
I was talking to a judge I know today at a mediation. He told me that he is a human being, who tries his best, but like all humans is not perfect, sometimes makes mistakes. As any other judge I know will tell you, putting on a black robe does not elevate one to perfection. The judges I know do their best to make tough decisions in family law disputes, often pressed for time with woefully inadequate information. A divorce trial usually takes 1 to 4 days, with about 7 hours of in court time per day. In this time the judge is expected to receive information about a marriage that lasted decades, decide which parent is best able to raise the children going forward, and also decide how financial assets should be decided, and what financial support spouses will pay to each other. To expect any human being to make all of these decisions correctly under these conditions is simply not realistic. Bottom line, if you, and your soon to be ex wife, or the other parent of your child can make an agreement without a trial you not only save money, but avoid the risk of a harried judge making the wrong decision based on the limited info presented at the trial.
Telling a client what they do not want to hear is probably the toughest job of a good lawyer, but also the most important. The only way a client can make good decisions is to have good information. If the client is not told that they are pushing for something that they cannot get, they will waste time and money, and may lose the chance of getting some of what they want. Taking a position that is not attainable can backfire, alienating the judge, or making it impossible to get an agreement which lets you get some of what you want. If your lawyer always tells you what you want to hear, they are probably not doing their job, unless you have a very easy case.