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Fargo Family Law Blog

Tax laws will change divorce

The new federal tax law passed late last year will have a major impact on spousal and child support. Addressing these divorce changes to long-standing tax laws will have a major impact on divorce negotiations and litigation as a result.

The new law takes away the traditional personal and dependent exemptions. Claiming a head of household status will become important because the new tax law raises the standard deduction from $6,350 in 2017 to $12,000 in 2018; $9,350 to $18,000 for head of household filers and from $12,700 for married filing jointly filers to $24,000.

Do grandparents have any rights to visitation?

Parents are not the only adults that play an important role in a child's life-their teachers, aunts and uncles and grandparents shape a child's life in vital ways and their significance cannot be overlooked. But this is often precisely what happens when a divorce takes place-parents either share or split joint and legal custody, and the remainder of the family and friends often have to chose sides that affect how many times they can visit children, if at all.

Grandparent's rights are often sacrificed in a divorce, which means the essential bond they share with grandkids is broken at the time when children are going through a turbulent time and need someone other than their parents to confide in. in North Dakota, the right of grandchildren to visit their grandchildren is recognized.

Can I relocate with my child if I have a custody order?

Whether you went through a painful divorce or you and your child's other parent were never married, you have likely struggled with the complications of custody and visitation issues. Adhering to a court-ordered custody ruling may seem frustrating at times, especially if your co-parent was less than cooperative.

Now you may have the chance to make a major change in your life, and that change could bring many positive opportunities for you and your child. However, your new opportunity requires a move further west in North Dakota or perhaps to a new state altogether. What happens to your child custody order in this case?

Ease back to school transition for children of divorce

Though North Dakota residents may believe the new year starts in January, the reality is that it starts in September for their school-going children. New teachers, new classes and friends, new schedules and new clothes-all items that help kids transition into their new year. Its difficult enough managing this transition when there is one household-two households only add to the confusion. However, planning ahead and clarifying intentions on how to get through the school year can ease the path for everyone involved.

The Marital Settlement Agreement likely covered the important ticket items, such as food, clothes and shelter when it came to child support payments, but every new year generally brings with it new, unforeseen expenses. Questions such as who will pay for child care when one of the kids is sick or when there is an event such as homecoming are those that need to be addressed at the beginning of the term when there are calm heads prevailing, rather than when the payment deadline is approaching and everyone is more likely to begin arguing. Some might find dividing the additional expenses equally works for them, while others may prefer dividing the items on which expenses might add up.

Importance of consent in stepparent adoption

Being a parent is a difficult job, but parents provide much needed stability and security to their children. Children need this permanence even more as their parents go through a divorce and in the years after it, as they watch their parents move on from one another and engage in new romantic relationships. One way stepparents can help ease the transition for their significant other's previous children is by adopting them.

Stepparent adoption in North Dakota is similar to other forms of adoption, except that it can be quicker because the parties are related to one another. Where other forms of adoption face hurdles in the form of home visits and waiting periods, courts often waive these in stepparent adoptions. The true issue often arises in gaining parental consent from the other birth parent.

North Dakota couples often divorce for these reasons

Whether you've been married for only a year or two, or have been with your spouse for a decade or more, you've likely encountered challenges in your relationship. Some problems are naturally more easily resolvable than others are. For instance, as newlyweds, you may have had to learn to compromise about minor issues, such whether or not to sleep with a fan on or how much money to spend on groceries per week.

Other marital problems are not only more serious, but may lead to divorce when North Dakota spouses can't come to an agreement or get past their feelings of hurt or betrayal. If you're considering divorce or have already filed papers, you'll need a strong support system to help you rebound and build a new future.

Are marital agreements legally enforceable?

Much has been said about premarital agreements and the benefits of entering into one before a couple gets married. Couples can peacefully and amicably decide in advance how to divide the property and assets should the wedding not withstand the test of time. However, many North Dakota residents may find that such a practical and unromantic conversation kills the marriage fervor and skip having the discussion at the cost of losing their share in a family business or inheriting the spouse's debt. One way to avoid this is by entering into a post-marital agreement, a document that is gaining popularity across the country.

Laws surrounding post-marital agreements are new in North Dakota, coming into force in 2013. But once enacted, the law requires that both parties must enter into the document voluntarily and knowingly. The document cannot be procured as a result of duress and adequate financial disclosure must be provided otherwise the document could be deemed unenforceable.

Maybe mediation is not right for your divorce

One of the first things you may have done after getting married - or maybe even before you married - was to open a joint checking account. After that, you probably bought some furniture, a car and maybe even a house. If you have children together, those little ones solidified your bond even more. However, those many things in common may not have solidified your relationship.

If you and your spouse are moving toward divorce, you may be weighing your options. Beyond traditional litigated divorce, you can choose alternative dispute resolution. There are pros and cons to the different methods of divorce, and you may have heard the many benefits of mediation. More North Dakota couples are reaching satisfying divorce settlements through mediation. However, this method is not best for everyone.

Unmarried couples and their rights towards children

Family law across the country, including in Fargo, tends to favor marries couples who have children. However, this does not mean that unmarried couples who have children, biological or adopted, have no rights under the law.

Even where the parents are not married to one another, they should ensure that both of their names are included on the birth certificate, giving both parents legal rights such as child custody, and responsibilities such as child support. The presumption that the father is the legal father of the child is thrown out the window when the couple is married, which is why fathers also have to sign an affidavit acknowledging their paternity. If this is not done at the time of birth, names can be added on the birth certificate at a later time. Adding the parent's name to the birth certificate also ensures that children become eligible to receive their parent's government benefits, such as social security or governmental pension.

Do you find yourself competing with your co-parent?

Despite the fact that part of you still holds resentment, hurt and anger against your former spouse, you made the conscious decision to set aside those feelings in order to continue raising your children together as co-parents. You wanted, and still want, to make sure that your children thrive in spite of the divorce.

Even so, you may feel as though your best intentions are falling short. You may find yourself competing with your co-parent and can't seem to stop. Perhaps it would help to find a way to change your mindset in order to move past those inclinations and get back on track to providing your children the best version of you as a parent.


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Commandments of Family Law

  1. The only truth your children need to know is that you both love them unconditionally, and that this isn't their fault.
  2. Take the high road — everyone wins when you do what's best for your kids.
  3. Negotiate but don't capitulate — if you are being pushed toward something detrimental for your children, stand your ground.
  4. You can only control yourself and how you respond. Don't engage.
  5. Do set up rules and responsibilities. Kids feel better when routine is continued.
  6. You are still their parent — don't be afraid to be one.
  7. Disneyland is in California, not in your home. Don't set up unreasonable expectations.
  8. It is not their job to take care of you. Repeat that to them. Often.
  9. Yelling is for sports — not court. Good lawyers strongly advocate without being disrespectful to opposing parties.
  10. Fair is a place you go to get cheese curds. Aside from that, nothing in life is fair.

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