Divorce Process And Finances In Hennepin County
The divorce rate in Minnesota is 10% — one of the highest divorce rates in the country, government statistics reveal. Money is the leading cause of stress in relationships and has been found to be responsible for at least 21% of divorces. Married couples considering divorce should carefully consider the financial implications and make sure they’re acting in the best interests of their children.
The cost of divorce in Hennepin County
Both spouses involved in a divorce are responsible for the financial cost. Filing fees vary from state to state. In Hennepin County, it’s currently $377. However, in cases of domestic abuse, there are no fees to pay. If one party is unable to pay the filing fee, the judge may agree to have it waived. This process is termed “in forma pauperis” and typically only happens for low-income residents. There’s also attorney fees to take into consideration — couples don’t have any legal right to a free lawyer (like a public defender) in a divorce. Attorney fees vary and can range into the thousands if custody or property disputes are involved. However, nonprofit law firms do exist to provide either free legal help or volunteer attorneys to low-income clients.
The financial impact of divorce on children
Divorcing spouses in Hennepin County should carefully consider the financial situation they’re creating for their children. In particular, the negative financial repercussions of divorce have been found to substantially deter many white children from going to college. Unstable employment after divorce is one reason for declining socioeconomic status. Additionally, stay-at-home dads often reject child support or alimony payments from ex-wives due to shame.
Currently in Minnesota, the custodial parent is required to financially support their children without a court order, while the non-custodial parent contributes periodic support payments. It’s important divorcing spouses act in the best interests of their children. They should prevent money from being a source of conflict and brush up on their money management skills. Additionally, parents should teach financial literacy to their children to help them develop a positive and empowered attitude towards finances — therefore giving them a stronger start in future adult life.
Lessening the stress of divorce
Divorce and money are inextricably intertwined and a major cause of stress. A new proposal currently advancing through state Legislature in Hennepin County aims to make divorce less stressful and more amicable. Rather than pursuing divorce through the courts, couples could file for marital dissolution through a cooperative divorce program run by the Minnesota Bureau of Mediation Services. They would be free to set the terms of their divorce, while fees would be potentially lower.
Child custody arrangements and financial support would be enforceable under child support laws. Rep. John Lesch, DFL-St. Paul, authored the bill in an attempt to offer couples a way to divorce without adversarial relationships forming. The inherent dynamics of the family legal system pits spouses against each other during the court process. When divorces are amicable, the mental and emotional health of the children involved are better protected.
When financial issues arise related to co-parenting, communication is key. Parents should never blame their ex for money problems and include the child in positive age-appropriate financial conversations. Children can then understand the value of planning ahead with money, as well as learning the value of compromise when talking about family finances.
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