Financial support is a crucial consideration in divorce and child custody. It must be calculated in a fair and accurate manner, and it can be a strategic factor in the property settlement and parenting arrangements.
The family law attorneys of Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., are knowledgeable about child support and spousal maintenance, from initial determination to post-decree modifications, appeals and enforcement. They can answer your questions and advocate effectively for you, whether you are paying or receiving support.
Ensuring Child Support Is Calculated Correctly
Child support is presumptively determined by a statutory formula, based on the income of the parents, the number of children and other factors. While this is the primary method by which child support is determined by the Court, many times families need the help of skilled counsel to creatively solve financial problems to make sure that the support is fair to both sides and meets the needs of the children. In those situations, deviations from the statutory formulas is necessary, and it is extremely important that you have experienced advice to avoid the pitfalls that can come with deviations.
Child support problems are not limited to the determination of the obligations of each parent. For example, additional documentation and investigation may be needed when the income of the parents is disputed because one or more of the parents are self-employed or paid in cash, hiding income, or when there is a seasonal or year-to-year fluctuation in their earnings. It is important to remember that the court can impute income when a parent is willfully unemployed or underemployed to avoid support obligations. Having an experienced attorney can make these more difficult circumstances easier to understand and address.
Knowing The Law Is Essential
At Sheridan & Dulas, we understand the child support statutes and how to properly apply the law to make sure support is calculated correctly and fairly. If necessary in more difficult and complicated cases, we can bring in forensic accountants or subpoena bank records to determine true income. We also have experience negotiating child support in cases involving high earners whose income exceeds the Minnesota child support guidelines.
Our attorneys also are involved in modifications of child support, as when the paying spouse is laid off or gets a significant bump in salary, or when there is a change in custody or parenting time. We also counsel clients on their rights and options in paternity actions and child support enforcement.
Fairness And Strategy In Spousal Maintenance (Alimony)
Spousal maintenance, also known as alimony or spousal support, is awarded at the discretion of the court or negotiated out of court as part of an overall divorce settlement. It is most commonly awarded in longer marriages, as when one spouse is a high earner and the other has stayed at home or put a career on hold to raise the children. Rehabilitative alimony of fixed duration is sometimes awarded to allow a lesser-earning spouse to go back to school or re-establish a career.
Our divorce lawyers have extensive experience in family law, including high-asset divorces seeking and defending against an award of spousal maintenance. We can give a sound legal opinion on whether alimony would apply in your case, including the approximate amount and duration if awarded. The court considers many criteria, such as income disparity, length of the marriage, age and health of the spouses, and education or employable skills. We can gauge whether or not these factors trend in your favor and can take appropriate action to argue for or against the award.
Spousal maintenance awards can also be modified or terminated by petitioning the court if there has been a substantial change in circumstances, such as a job promotion, job loss or remarriage.
Contact our office to set up a free, no-obligation consultation. Our family law lawyers practice across the Twin Cities, including Dakota, Washington, Hennepin, Scott, Carver, Ramsey, Goodhue and Anoka counties, and in greater Minnesota.