Family Law

Our law firm’s decades of experience in the area of family law constitute the foundation of our service to our clients. On this foundation, we have built a reputation for quality and personalized care. Our goal is always to provide our clients with the best possible legal services at a reasonable cost.

Divorce Litigation

Our divorce attorneys have established reputations as top-notch divorce litigators, and we have passionately represented our clients before the court.

Maren Swanson, one of our divorce attorneys, has been practicing family law since 1981. She says: “I represent both men and women. I have no trouble seeing each case from my client’s perspective. I have litigated difficult cases involving allegations of physical, verbal and sexual abuse, custody fights, and disputes over property and support. I am a strong advocate for my clients. However, as of 2021, I am no longer accepting new clients whose cases are highly contested and are likely to require court action to resolve.”

Collaborative Divorce

An alternative to divorce litigation is collaborative divorce, which can involve a team of professionals, including collaborative attorneys (who are advocates for their clients and yet adopt a non-adversarial approach to helping clients resolve the issues in the case) and also neutral financial specialists and therapists. In the collaborative divorce process, both parties agree not to go to court, to treat each other respectfully, to fully disclose all relevant information, and to work with the collaborative team to reach a mutually acceptable divorce settlement. Maren Swanson is trained in collaborative family law and enthusiastically offers this service.

Spousal Maintenance 

Spousal maintenance is payments from the future income of one spouse for the support and maintenance of the other. Statutory factors used to determine the amount and duration of spousal maintenance include the following:

  • The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance
  • The employability of the party seeking maintenance
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • Whether the party seeking maintenance was a homemaker
  • The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance
  • The contribution of each party to the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property
  • The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or in furtherance of the other party’s employment or business.

Child Support

Minnesota has statutory guidelines for establishing child support. The guidelines use both parents’ gross monthly incomes and the amount of overnight parenting time each parent has with the children to determine basic support.  The guidelines are used to establish basic child support and also medical support and child care contributions.

Child Custody and Parenting Time 

In Minnesota, legal custody means “the right to determine the child’s upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training.” Physical custody means “the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child.”  Parenting time means “the time a parent spends with a child regardless of the custodial designation regarding the child.”  All of these issues are addressed in a divorce with children.

Distribution of Assets and Liabilities

Marital assets include homes and other real property, household furnishings, cars, boats, checking and savings accounts, stocks, mutual funds, pensions and other retirement funds, business assets, and other property, both tangible and intangible, acquired during the marriage. A case may also involve non-marital property, including assets owned before the marriage or given to or inherited by one party during the marriage. We regularly handle issues involving the valuation and distribution of assets. The most common issues involve the following:

  • Division of marital assets and determination of a cash equalization payment
  • Business valuation
  • Identification and valuation of non-marital property
  • Allocation of debt

Paternity

If a child is born to parents who are not married, paternity often needs to be legally established in order to secure child support and to define custody and parenting time rights.

Maren says, “For more information about divorce or any other family law matter, please contact me.  I offer a FREE half-hour initial consultation to new clients who meet the requirement of having fairly uncontested (amicable and agreeable) cases. This consultation will not answer all of your legal questions, but it will give you an opportunity to discuss process and options and to see whether there is a good fit between your needs and my skills. It can be done by phone or in person. Please call at (507) 663-1211 or e-mail me.”