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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 passionately represent our clients before the court.  Maren Swanson, one of our divorce attorneys, has been practicing family law since 1981:  “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.”

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 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.

Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)

Spousal maintenance is payments from the future income or earnings 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 in 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 new guidelines for establishing child support. The new guidelines use both parents’ monthly gross incomes to determine basic support. Each parent’s monthly gross income is reduced by the amount of spousal maintenance or child support that parent is ordered to pay for other families. The new formula also grants deductions from a parent’s monthly gross income for non-joint children in their home.  These guidelines are used to establish basic child support, medical support, and child care contribution.

Child Custody and Parenting Time (Visitation)

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 disputes involving the valuation and distribution of assets.  The most common disputes involve the following:

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


If a child is born out of wedlock, paternity often needs to be legally established in order to secure child support and to define custody and parenting time rights.  Paternity may also be an issue during a divorce.

For more information about divorce or any other family law matter, please contact us. We offer a FREE half-hour initial consultation in most cases.

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