Financial support for yourself and your family is a necessity. In the case of divorce, financial support is important for maintaining the quality of life of children and, when warranted, an ex-spouse, depending on the extenuating circumstanced best analyzed by an experienced attorney.
In the unfortunate case of a death, financial support can be ensured by establishing an estate plan that includes, at a minimum, a last will and testament, and possibly even a revocable or irrevocable trust, healthcare directives, or other instruments that ensure your wishes are carried out and that the financial security of your loved ones is considered.
With the help of the attorneys at Baker Vicchiollo Law, you can analyze the possibility or need for support through:
- Child support
- Spousal maintenance
- Estate planning
Financial support is one of the more critical resources that allow people to move forward and to have some peace of mind knowing that their expenses or the expenses of raising their children will be met, or that their estate is in order.
Our attorneys can assist you in assessing the factors used to obtain an order for support or to modify a support obligation through court intervention, negotiation, or mediation.
Additionally, our attorneys can work with you to create or review an existing will or trust to ensure financial support and property are used in the way you intend upon your death.
Child support may be ordered by the court in custody, parenting time, and paternity matters involving minor children. Child support is intended to assist the parents with the basic living expenses, work-related childcare, and medical expenses of the children.
In Minnesota, Child Support is determined by a formula calculated by Minnesota Child Support Guidelines. The formula considers several factors when determining the amount of child support, including the number of children, gross incomes of each parent, childcare and health care costs and the regular overnight parenting time schedule for the parents. Based upon the circumstances of each family, a court can order a deviation from the formulated child support amount.
Baker Vicchiollo Law attorneys have experience working with clients on both sides of this issue: enforcement of court-ordered child support and modifications of child support when employment earnings, or other financial or childcare factors, of one parent has changed.
CHILD SUPPORT MODIFICATION
Child support can be modified when the existing obligation becomes unreasonable or unfair, according to Minnesota Statute § 518A.39 subd. 2(a).
During the initial consultation, one of our attorneys will discuss the factors for demonstrating how the current support obligation is unreasonable or unfair.
SPOUSAL SUPPORT or ALIMONY
Spousal maintenance, also referred to as spousal support or alimony, is the financial support one spouse pays to the other. Spousal maintenance can be temporary or permanent. In Minnesota, no specific formula determines the amount or duration for which spousal support is paid. However, Minnesota law has determined some factors which a court may consider when determining the appropriate amount and duration, if any, of spousal support in each case.
Some of these factors include:
- The financial need of each party
- The earning capacity of each party
- If the financial need of a party can be overcome, and how long it might take to do so
- Whether the potential payor has the means to pay spousal maintenance
- Length of the marriage
- The quality of life enjoyed by the parties during their marriage
- Ages of the parties
MODIFYING SPOUSAL SUPPORT
Modifying spousal support is no easy feat, however there are several reasons why this type of action may be possible, some of which include change of income, health, or relationships.
Other factors impacting the ability to modify spousal support are nuptial agreements or the existence of a Karon waiver with the existing court order.
A Karon waiver, a term used in Minnesota divorce law is based upon the legal precedent set in Karon v. Karon, 435 N.W.2d 501 (Minn. 1989). In a Karon waiver, the parties stipulate that there will be no future modification of spousal maintenance at the time the award is made. It is a waiver of the statutory right to modification of maintenance.
Not paying child support is a serious matter, not just because of the implications the lack of resources has in the care and wellbeing of a child(ren), but also financially and legally.
Nonpayers may face serious consequences including contempt proceedings, criminal prosecution, interest charges, levy or seizure of assets, passport hold, or student grant hold, or suspension of licenses (drivers, occupational, and/or recreational).
County child support offices may provide enforcement assistance in some child support cases and even some spousal support cases as well, however this varies from county to county. Consulting with one of our family law attorneys will provide information specific to your situation and county. From there you can decide if you want the assistance of one of our attorneys or if will pursue enforcement on your own.
Spousal support enforcement typically means initiating either a contempt of court action or going through the process of having the outstanding payments reduced to a judgment for non-payment. Once either of these steps is completed, collecting the funds will still be necessary. Understanding your options for enforcing a monetary judgment is something that our attorneys can discuss with you during the initial consultation by phone or in person.