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What is Family Law?

Getting married, having a baby, and dealing with the death of a loved one are events that almost everyone goes through. While these are certainly emotional, they are also events with a lot of legal ramifications. Because of this, we think that almost everyone needs a family lawyer they can trust, but a lot of people don’t know what we do or how we can help.

Family Law Explained

Family law is the set of laws that deals with issues such as child custody, marriage, divorce, and guardianship. Each of these issues is dealt with differently in each of the fifty states, and in some cases specific laws can vary from city to city.

It’s important to realize that family law is practiced very differently than other aspects of the legal system. Unlike criminal law, there are typically not defendants and petitioners are not judged to be guilty or not guilty. Often, the goal of legal proceedings in family court is to come to a compromise or solution that all parties can agree to while protecting the best interests of minor children and other involved parties. Issues such as assigning blame are usually secondary to this goal.

A typical family lawyer will deal with issues such as divorce, child custody, child support, and prenuptial agreements.


Getting a divorce is one of the most stressful things a person can go through, but it’s even worse if you don’t take steps to protect yourself. Even the most amicable divorces will have problems and issues come up that neither party can solve without the help of legal counsel. If there are significant assets, such as real estate or retirement funds, or if there are children, it is especially crucial to retain legal counsel.

A good divorce can be next to impossible to have, but it is possible to protect yourself and your children. Depending on the length of your marriage, your level of assets, and the income of both parties, it is possible for former spouses to gain a huge advantage on a partner that does not take steps to become familiar with the law.

Unfortunately, the laws governing divorce in Minnesota are a complex mix of statutes written over decades that are designed to protect everyone from creditors to children. This can make it next to impossible for someone with no legal training to get divorced on his or her own without legal counsel. Even when it has been done, both parties typically find themselves back in court within months or years trying to sort through other issues that were not addressed in the initial filing.

Prenuptial Agreements

Prenuptial agreements have been in existence for centuries, but they have only recently gained popularity. These agreements are designed to spell out the terms of a hypothetical divorce between a couple before they get married.

While no one would say that prenuptial agreements are particularly romantic, they are an excellent tool for anyone who is bringing assets or income into a marriage that they want to protect. These agreements can be written to ensure that any assets, such as trusts, real estate, or retirement funds that parties hold prior to the marriage will revert back to the original parties after a divorce. They can also stipulate a transfer of some of these assets if certain conditions are met. For example, some people choose to have a prenuptial agreement that entitles one party to a piece of the assets of the other party after a predetermined number of years of marriage.

It’s important to note that prenuptial agreements must be signed by both parties, and in most cases each party must retain their own legal counsel in order for the agreement to be considered valid by the court. It’s also important to note that these agreements cannot stipulate terms of child custody.

Child Custody and Support

Child support issues are one of the most common reasons why people in Minnesota choose to retain a family law lawyer. The law in Minnesota states that children are entitled to be supported by both of their parents until they become adults. There are, however, a lot of issues that come up when determining the amount of support each parent should provide.

While there are charts and guidelines for judges when determining child support payments, these laws are dependent on the party whois ordered to pay support having a steady and reliable income. When a parent has a change in income, acquires assets that bring in additional income or losses, or the terms of the custody arrangement change, it is very possible that the amount of child support owed can also change. Because of this, many people find themselves discussing child support issues for years after a marriage has ended.

It is important to note that parents do not have to be married or even listed on the birth certificate in order to required to pay child support. As long as the child’s relationship to the parent can be established, it is possible to require a parent to pay child support. This is true even if several years have passed since a child was born. If you think you or your child is eligible for payments, it is important to contact a lawyer immediately.

How Do I Find the Best Family Law Attorneys In Minneapolis?

Because they deal with so many momentous aspects of a person’s life, choosing a family lawyer is often one of the most important decisions a person can make. Figuring out who to choose, then, is a hard decision.

When choosing a family lawyer, start by finding a professional who has a good reputation among other lawyers and the court system. Well established lawyers are great places to find someone who has years of experience with the law as well as good relationships with the court and local community. It’s also important to ask about a lawyer’s experience with cases that are similar to yours. Remember that every case is different.

If you’re looking for legal consulting for your family, ReelLawyers posts thousands of videos offering advice on issues like divorce, prenuptial agreements, child support and child custody.


Matt Ludt