Family Law FAQs

When family law problems arise, many people do not know where to turn. Questions often arise that seem to fester without providing comfort. At Bernatz & Van Beek in Winona, we understand the pressures people face when family disputes change the family dynamic. We have created a short list of some common family law FAQs. No list can answer every question that may come up. We invite you to read the list on common concerns below:

Can my child choose which parent to live with?

Minnesota courts weigh many factors in determining the best interests of the child. Among the many factors, the preference of the child may be evaluated — depending on the age and maturity of the individual child. Even if the judge gives substantial weight to the preference of the child in an individual case, there may be other factors that outweigh the child's choice. Moreover, the court may not want to place the child in the middle of a parental dispute. It is critical to work with a lawyer who has experience in preparing and presenting a comprehensive child custody strategy aimed at obtaining the best possible results.

Are retirement accounts and pensions plans subject to property division during divorce?

In general, retirement plans and pension accounts are treated the same as other types of assets during a divorce. Assets that are acquired during the marriage are considered marital assets that are subject to division. Retirement assets may be substantial, especially for mature adults. Determining what should properly be included in the marital estate can be complex in some situations, and limited exceptions may apply.

How are debts handled in divorce?

Marital debts are included in divorce negotiations and litigation. Like assets acquired during the marriage, debts that have been acquired during the marriage are subject to division, even if only one spouse is named in the relevant account.

My circumstances have substantially changed since my divorce — can I get a custody modification?

Courts retain jurisdiction over custody matters related to minor children. Substantial changes in circumstances may justify a change to child custody or child support orders. In determining whether to grant or deny a family court modification, the court evaluates the reasons for the change in circumstances, as well as whether modifying the existing order serves the best interests of the child.

Arrange A Free Consultation To Learn How We Can Help You

We can provide you with personalized answers and strong legal representation to resolve your family law issues. We invite you to call 507-205-9363 or send us a message online to request your consultation with an experienced family law attorney. We, at Bernatz & Van Beek, represent clients in Winona, Wabasha and Houston counties and nearby areas of southern Minnesota.