Sunday, March 9, 2008

MN Family Law: Can I divorce my spouse due to abandonment?

Unlike other states Minnesota has a "no-fault" divorce law. This means it is not necessary to prove your spouse is at fault by abandoning you and that was the cause of the breakup of the marriage. The only reason that the Courts in Minnesota will recognize in granting a divorce is that there has been "an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship." This means that there is no hope that the spouses will want to live together again as husband and wife. Thus, a spouse who wants a divorce is almost certain to be granted one by the court even if the other spouse does not want a divorce.
Usually fault of either spouse in the breakup of the marriage will not be considered by the court in granting the dissolution, however it may considered in determining custody of the children.
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Saturday, March 8, 2008

FAQs - MN Family Law: Guardian v. Guardian ad Litem

Q. Is there a difference between a "guardian" and a "guardian ad litem"?
A. Yes! The "guardian" is the person who by a court order, has been given custody of the child and acts as the parent for the child. They can be a biological parent or a third party (i.e. grandparent). They make the decisions about a child and the child’s needs. The guardian decides where the child lives and how the child is brought up.
The "guardian ad litem" ("ad litem" means "for the lawsuit") is a person the Court asks to work with a child or a person who has a disability that makes it hard for them to understand a case that involves them. In other cases, like in custody cases or neglect or abuse cases, a guardian ad litem may be appointed to investigate and stand for the child’s best interests. Guardians ad litem tell the court what is best custody and parenting time arrangement for the child. They do an independent investigation, by talking to the child, the parents and other care-givers. In the end they provide a report to the court outlining the best interests of the child. Their recommendations are not dispositive; however they do carry great weight.