How Do I Use My Attorney in a Minnesota Divorce Mediation?

MM900173962[1]Your attorney is your legal dictionary,  your advocate, and your knowledgeable source of all law that impacts your case short-term and long-term.  What I mean by case is your life from the point of the divorce on and how decisions in mediation affect the following:

  • How does Minnesota custody and parenting time play out on a day-to-day basis;
  • What is a fair division of all marital assets in a Minnesota divorce;
  • How to protect your non-marital assets in a Minnesota divorce;
  • What are your financial obligations for children or a spouse in a Minnesota divorce, and;
  • What is a fair division of liabilities and debt in a Minnesota divorce?

Your attorney’s role in mediation is to counsel and advise you. Your attorney will address the pros and cons of your legal position; your attorney will explain and inform you of the likelihood of an outcome at trial; your attorney will help you weigh the benefits of a settlement against the risks of having a Court decide the dispute. Your attorney doesn’t make a decision about settlement or compromise. Your attorney gives you the best education and information possible to allow you to make the best decision for you and the children under all the facts and circumstances of your case.

If your Minnesota family law case has any disputes related to custody, parenting time, property and debt division and payment of support or spousal support, then having your own attorney in mediation benefits you in every way.

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Child Custody, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

What to know how to proceed?  Call me at 320-492-3606 or e-mail me via www.katewillmorelaw.com

Copyright 2016

How Do I Get the Other Side to Mediate In Minnesota Custody or Divorce Case?

mailboxMinnesota Court orders for divorces and other Minnesota family law matters most always include a mediation provision. The mediation provision sets out a requirement that both parties in the legal proceeding must attempt mediation before either of them may return to Court.  The foregoing exempts emergency situations.

Simply stated- if Party A wants to modify parenting time or custody or address some change in the parenting plan or otherwise request an order from the Court, then Party A  has to ask Party B to mediate before Party A can go to Court.

How do you ask the other side to mediate in a Minnesota divorce or Minnesota family law matter like custody, parenting time changes, or parenting plan changes?

  • Organize your Court paperwork and confirm the mediation provision in the Court’s order.
  • Organize your thoughts and outline the changes that you want to present to the other party and, eventually to the Court.
  • Prepare a letter inviting the other side to mediate and reference the mediation provision in the Court’s order.
  • Set a reasonable deadline for the other party’s response to your letter.
  • Mail the request to mediate letter to the other party at his or her mailing address by regular mail.  The law presumes delivery if the letter is not returned and it contained the correct address. Mailing the letter certified is not necessary.
  • Keep a copy of the letter for yourself because you will eventually attach the letter as an exhibit to the Court to show that you did comply with the mediation provision.
  • If there is no response to your first letter, then mail a second and set another deadline.  Two letters will substantiate your position to the Court that you really tried to get the other party into mediation
  • It is easier to text message or e-mail your request to mediate, but an old-fashioned letter is the best evidence.

What do you do if the other Party says he or she will mediate.

  • Agree upon a mediator.
  • Set a date and time.
  • Mediate your dispute to resolution and have the change drafted in an agreement/ Court order signed by both parties and file it with the Court.
  • If you cannot agree, then you have met your obligation under the mediation provision and you may proceed to Court with your requested change.

What do you do if the other party does not respond to your request to mediate?

  • Prepare your motion and requests for your changes for filing with the Court following all Court requirements for Minnesota divorce, custody, parenting time modifications of orders.
  • Attach true and correct copies of your letters to the other side asking that he or she mediate marked as exhibits to your affidavit.
  • Include a paragraph in your affidavit that you wrote the letters and mailed the letters to the correct address and have had no response from the other party.

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Child Custody, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

What to know how to proceed?  Call me at 320-492-3606 or e-mail me via www.katewillmorelaw.com

Copyright 2016

How Do You Draft a Minnesota Parenting Plan for Divorce, Custody, and Parenting Time?

 

PuzzleMinnesota divorces, custody disputes, or parenting time issues can be emotional, stressful, and may appear insurmountable. But, you and the other parent have a shared obligation to create the best possible loving environment for your children at both residences.    Mutually drafting a co-parenting plan is one way to address how you are going to co-parent to benefit the children.   Minnesota custody and parenting time law does not require that you draft up a plan, but it sure is helpful and makes a lot of sense when you are co-parenting. Please consider the following suggestions.

 

  • Have an open-minded approach with an ear towards listening to other parent and trying to understand his or her position;
  • Think creatively – one parenting plan size doesn’t fit all Minnesota families;
  • Practice being civil, polite and be patient;
  • Try not to create bright lines or hard fast rules that cannot addressed by both parents as the children grow older and circumstances change;
  • Develop a stick-to-it-ness— drafting a parenting plan is hard work; bring some snacks to curb that low blood sugar;
  • Be open to guidance and ideas from a mediator or your attorney – they don’t know your family, but they may have suggestions from which you can develop your own mutual plan;
  • Don’t get stuck on labels – you and the other parent may create labels ( e.g., joint custody, shared custody, shared time) as long as you define the labels for the court;
  • Create a check-list or download a check-list to trigger ideas and to cover all of your bases in drafting a plan; and,
  • Meet as many times as it may take to come up with a plan.  Remember this is all about the children.

Feel fee to download the following worksheet:   Parenting Plan Worksheet

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Child Custody, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

For more information on divorces or child custody see: What You Need to Know About Minnesota Divorce

What to know how to proceed? Call me at 320-492-3606 or e-mail me via www.katewillmorelaw.com

Copyright 2016

 

Do parents in a Minnesota divorce or child custody case have to mediate?

Yes No If parents or parties cannot agree,  then mediation is required under Minnesota Rules with a few exceptions.

Mediation in a  Minnesota divorce, child custody, or other family law dispute is a settlement process under the general title Alternative Dispute Resolution  in Minnesota.

Rule 310 of Minn. General Rules of Practice entitled Alternative Dispute Resolution ( ADR) requires that all Minnesota divorces, child custody disputes and other family law matters in district court are subject to the ADR process as established in Rule 114 of Minn. General Rules of Practice  except for:  1. Actions enumerated in Minn. Stat. Ch. 518B ( Domestic Abuse Act); 2. Contempt actions; and, 3. Maintenance ( spousal support), child support and parentage actions ( paternity) when the public agency responsible for child support enforcement is a party or is providing services to a party with respect to the action.

Rule 114 describes the procedures for ADR ( See Rule 114).  Participation in the ADR process does not mean that parties have to settle their differences.  The ADR process allows parties the opportunity and freedom to negotiate without the Court’s involvement.  All communications within the settlement process are confidential.  The thought being that parties will “let their hair down” if they know the Court is not  privy to any ADR discussions.

An ADR mediated settlement saves both parties’ money spent in litigation; and, families are spared the emotional distress of a hearing in a divorce, child custody or other family law dispute.  ADR is really worth the time and effort even if no complete settlement results.

Partial Settlement

Parties can resolve some of their differences if they cannot come to an agreement on all differences. For example, parties can create a Minnesota child custody and parenting time schedule and plan and resolve their issues about the children.  If these same parties cannot reach an agreement on everything in their divorce, then the Court decides for them.

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Child Custody, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

For more information on divorces or child custody see: What You Need to Know About Minnesota Divorce

What to know who to proceed? Call me at 320-492-3606 or submit your case to me at Kate Willmore Law

Copyright 2015

 

Access to Minnesota Mediation and the Call for Reduced Fees and Better Access for Parties

Dollar SignAll Minnesota divorces and other family law matters are referred to mediation by the Court system.  Only cases involving domestic violence are exempt.  Every divorce decree or family law order has a mediation provision requiring that the parties mediate a post-decree or post-order dispute before returning to court.  The only exception to the foregoing is an emergency regarding the minor children.

Over the last few years, the Minnesota Judicial System has made terrific inroads into resolving the access to justice problem.   Parties needing legal help can find free legal help online at Minnesota Judicial Branch and at law libraries throughout the State. Parties can opt to prepare and argue their own legal cases, which may not be a good thing in many instances.

The cost of mediation is high.  Most mediators bill at a rate of $250 to $300 an hour.  While parties may not be shut out of the justice system via the access to justice band wagon,  most parties are certainly shut out of mediation.   Parties share the costs of mediation, but even at $125 to $150 per party most families cannot afford the three to four hours that it may take to resolve a family dispute.

The question then becomes why isn’t the Judicial System doing something about the high cost of mediation?

What the Justice System should attempt to do is create a cadre of mediators who will offer mediation fees based upon a sliding fee scale; that is, mediation fees based upon what each party’s income is and his or her ability to pay.  Everyone should pay something even  a minimum.   Grants should be made available to fund local mediation centers staffed by attorney/mediators who can organize volunteer mediators.

Access to justice includes the availability of experienced and qualified attorney mediators who offer sliding fee rates. There are a few mediators out there who offer sliding fees or volunteer,  but not many.

Just my two cents.

If you like this post, I would love it if you would hit the “subscribe” button so that I may continue to share a variety of family law topics with you.  Please do share this post via the share buttons at the bottom of the page. Thanks for reading.

Kate Willmore, Saint Cloud, Minnesota, Divorce, Father’s Rights, Mother’s Rights, Family Lawyer, Family Court Lawyer and Mediation Coach

Call me at (320) 492-3606 or e-mail me.    www.katewillmorelaw.com

Copyright 2015