By Jennifer Moore, Attorney

Some things never change in family law – including the costs of divorce!

Divorce, alimony, child support, child custody have always been a strain – even for some who really are well off.   Read the “Special to The New York Times” for Sunday, August 9, 1903, regarding the unfortunate Mr. Frederick L. Champlin, “the once wealthy clubman” of Chicago, Illinois.

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Even a Family Attorney Needs a Break!

Take the Kids Camping!

 

This is the last unofficial weekend of summer, and the last chance to take a long weekend camping at any of the many Minnesota State Parks      .    I recommend going to some of the ones further outside the Twin Cities than usual.  I spent a long weekend at the beginning of August at  Bear Head Lake     State Park outside Ely, MN,     the wanna-be-hosts of the    2016 Olympics  .)   

This weekend I’m venturing to  

Upper Sioux Agency State Park, where I plan to hike some trails and kayak some waters.  Favorites in the past have included Gooseberry Falls State Park outside of Duluth, and Sibley State Park, outside Wilmar.

 

State Parks are a great destination for families, small and large.  At Bear Head, our neighbors included a large family reunion with people from all over the five state area.  I enjoyed watching uncles teach nieces to fish, and grandpa argue with son over who snored louder.  State Parks have nice sized campsites, some with electricity for RVs, shower facilities, and well-informed staff that can help you make the most of your time out in the wild.

Stress, Strain, and Divorce

A Few Words from A Family Law Office Manager

We live in stressful times. Half the people I know are depressed, it seems, agitated or both! Stressed out.

I can identify with you.  Take blogging.  Blogging is good for the spirit, provides a basis for helping folks out and of course is a great way to let other folks know who you – and your organization — are. But what if you’ve spent all week doing data entry and balancing the books? Dull, dull, dull!

What if you, like me, are not really qualified to blog about the most interesting things in the office? Here I am, office manager in a family law / probate / trusts and estates law firm with one paralegal, several attorneys – and me.  Everyone here is more qualified than I in the legal field.  My expertise is in marketing and cash management and, well, managing the office. 

Stress and Strain and the MTA (Marital Termination Agreement)

Recently a client came into the office to sign their MTA (Marital Termination Agreement – that’s legalese for divorce papers, at least here in Minnesota.  He was upset, he did / didn’t want to sign them. We talked. I was glad for a chance for some human contact and he and I actually have a lot in common – we’ve both been through a divorce and we’re both emotional about it – and committed to making it happen so we can move on.

Speaking of emotions, have you noticed the number of people going off the deep end lately and launching on various violent and destructive sprees? It’s a lot, it seems to me anyway. I think everyone is suffering from stress.  Divorce, like running or mountain climbing where you hit *the wall* and keep on going on raw will power – divorce, child custody, probate, estate planning – though divorce is the worst – all of these are emotional and often force you to go beyond what you think you can do and in fact sometimes do force you into situations where you really don’t know how to cope, or cope as well as you want.

Divorce and Self Help

Here’s my point.  Divorce almost inevitably involves real estate, child care arrangements, financial planning, health issues, and mental health issues. Seek help. If you had a broken leg you’d see a doctor. If you have to sell the house, find a realtor and a mortgage banker. If you have a spirit at risk of being broken, or a life in danger of being damaged, seek out not only friends you can talk with; but a support group, individual therapy, group therapy. Many of us have been there. It’s worth it.

So, that’s it!  Be your own best advocate for you and for your loved ones.

And the man who did / didn’t want to sign his divorce papers? He signed — *after* I promised that his attorney  would talk with him next week about it before proceeding.

Thomas Moore, office manager

Moore Family Law 

Thomas.Moore@MooreFamilyLawMN.com

Mothers Who Choose To Give Up Child Custody

This morning on the   Today show  they had a brief spot highlighting an article in Marie Claire focusing on mothers who choose to give up custody of their children.

Non Traditional Child Custody and Parenting Time

More and more often, I see non-traditional custody and parenting time arrangements in divorces.  Often, I talk to fathers who are afraid they won’t be able to have any kind of parenting time beyond every other weekend, and I have to do a lot of talking to convince them that 50/50 arrangements are not only possible, but common, and can even be healthy for children. 

Mothers Who Give Up Child Custody and Parenting Time

Perhaps more difficult to comprehend, however, is the situation where a mother chooses to accept a custody arrangement that gives the father more than her.  There are social expectations that a mother will be caring and nurturing, and that while the father goes off to work and visits the kids every other weekend, the mother will stay at home no matter what. 

Fathers Who Have Primary Child Custody

Sometimes, however, the best interest of the children is to give the father primary custody, with the mother exercising the “over other weekend” – or even every summer – parenting time.  The Marie Claire article looks at the families of three women, and why it was the right choice for them.

Child Custody, Parenting Time, Alimony, Child Support – What is Best for You?

The underlying message behind the idea that it’s ok for mother’s to not have primary custody?  It’s that there is NEVER one right solution for every family.  What is right for YOUR family is not necessarily what is right for the Joneses down the street or the Gosselins on the television.  It is more important to figure out what is right for your family and best for YOUR children, than it is to worry about what people not in your family are going to think about it. 

Emily Matson

Emily.Matson@MooreFamilyLawMN.com

Moore Family Law

www.moorefamilylawMN.com

 Cost, Dirty Tricks, Win / Lose and Divorce and Child Custody Attorneys

Several years ago, my lead attorney and I went to an American Bar Association  seminar in Monterey, California.  We met with many interesting and experienced family law attorneys.  One of these lawyers was Mr. Mark Chinn of Jackson, Mississippi.

 

Mark Chinn’s Family Law Web Site

 Yesterday, in the course of preparing some new written and web-based materials for helping our family law clients through divorce proceedings, child custody matters, etc., I realized that our law firm had actually implemented some legal strategies in divorce cases which Mark had discussed with us.  For instance, we are a ‘wrap-around’ firm and, while not strictly speaking practicing collaborative law, we do productively collaborate with other attorneys and with other professionals who can help our family law clients through a difficult time.

 Not only that.  Reading Mark’s blog I soon realized that his approach to law firm billing, ethics, and strategy is quite similar to ours.  I would encourage anyone reading this blog to follow the links to Mark’s family law blog and read there.  Please bear in mind that Mr. Chinn practices in Mississippi, and the firm I work for practices in Minnesota.  The laws are different.  Still, I think Mr. Chinn’s divorce blogs are well worth the read.

 

Mark Chinn’s Divorce Law Blog

  

Capturing Costs and Containing the Bill in a Family Law Case

  

Eliminate Dirty Tricks in a Divorce or Dissolution Case

  

Take the Win / Lose out of Child Custody Battles

 We hope you find these links useful.

 

 Thomas Moore

Office Manager

Thomas.Moore@MooreFamilyLawMN.com

 Moore Family Law, P.A.

Plymouth, MN 

www.MooreFamilyLawMN.com