Pennington, Cherne, Gaarder & Geiger Hagen, PLLC

St. Cloud PCG's Law Blog

Do mothers stand a better chance of getting custody?

It is a misconception in today's legal system that mothers stand a better chance of getting custody of their children in a custody battle. The default that many courts use is for both parents to get as much time with their children as possible, and that frequently translates to joint custody and shared parenting time.

So, why does it seem that after a divorce or breakup, mothers may be the ones who have their children most of the time?

Is a bar owner at fault in a Minnesota drunk driving case?

In a typical drunk driving case where the driver causes an accident and the courts find him or her negligent, it is generally a straightforward process to showing that the impaired driving caused the accident. However, if the driver got behind the wheel after an establishment such as a bar or restaurant served the driver after he or she was already visibly intoxicated, this brings another important element into the overall case.

Minnesota law takes into account liability for people who furnish alcoholic beverages illegally and defines the parameters within which that may be the case. As a result, a bar owner or other person who illegally serves alcohol may be liable for a motor vehicle crash or other accident caused by a drunk patron.

Why do the lawyers get a third of my settlement?

You have been injured, perhaps in a car accident. Or maybe a dog bit you, or you slipped and fell on the premises of a business. Whatever the situation is, you are ready to pursue negotiations or a lawsuit that you hope begins the process of compensating you for medical bills, lost income and more.

However, while meeting with different law firms, you have discovered that lawyers tend to take at least a third of any settlement. In fact, the figure may go as high as 40 percent for some firms. Naturally, this dismays you because you feel like you could really use that money. Why do lawyers take such a seemingly large amount?

Drowsy driving: The danger you might not think about

You have had a few close calls over the years on Minnesota highways - you are just driving along when a tractor-trailer or family vehicle veers too close to your lane or even swerves over the double yellow line. You may not be sure what the other driver was doing that nearly got you seriously injured or killed, but chances are he or she may have been nodding off behind the wheel.

Drowsy driving causes thousands of crashes, injuries and fatalities across the country each year according to the National Sleep Foundation. This may not come as a surprise to you since maybe you have felt sleepy behind the wheel a few times in your life. If so, you are not alone. In a survey, 60 percent of drivers admitted to driving drowsy in the past year, and 13 percent said it happens at least monthly. Even more frightening, more than one in drivers said they have fallen asleep at the wheel.

Challenges men face when they are the victims of spousal abuse

There is an all-too-common misconception that only women and children are the victims of domestic violence. While it is true that most official reports regarding partner violence involve women as victims and men as perpetrators, the opposite is often true. In fact, some domestic violence advocates believe abuse against men is more common than people think. The following information is important for you and others in Minnesota to understand about domestic violence against men.

Men are stronger than women, so a woman is physically unable to hurt a man, right? While it may be true that men generally have greater strength than women, this does not mean that your wife is unable to harm you. Often, abusive women attack their male partners in their sleep or use weapons against them. A man may have grown up with the instruction to never strike a woman, and he might refuse to do so even in self-defense. It is also true that some women have a physical advantage over their partners, whether due to size or training in combat methods.

Getting a divorce after the New Year? How to do it right

The stress of the holidays is over, but your marital stress did not end. Like many couples in Minnesota and elsewhere, you and your spouse have decided after the New Year to call it quits. This can create a whole new range of worries to add to what is already a difficult time. Fortunately, there are ways you might lessen the hassle and give yourself a little peace.

According to the Chicago Tribune, divorce filings are popular in the first few weeks of the new year. Whether due to finances or realizing you need a fresh start, jumping on the New Year divorce bandwagon can be overwhelming. These tips may help you keep a positive perspective and stay on the right track:

  • Now is the time to organize. Gather together your financial paperwork and other documents that an attorney may need to move forward with your divorce.
  • Start researching your divorce options, such as mediation, collaboration or traditional litigation. There are advantages and limitations to each type of divorce.
  • You and your spouse may not like each other very much right now, but being civil towards each other and cooperating may help the process go smoother. If he or she is being difficult, you do not have to behave the same way.
  • Remember that divorce is difficult for children too. Be sensitive and reassuring when answering their questions.
  • Take some time for yourself. You might want to commiserate with a friend over coffee, take a hot bath or even schedule a weekend away. Try to do something small each day to reduce your stress and bring positivity into your life.

Debunking 4 common adoption myths

Adoption is a worthwhile endeavor for any parents looking to bring a child into their lives. In the United States alone, there are 400,000 children in the foster care system, and out of that number, approximately 100,000 are currently waiting to find adoptive parents. 

Part of the reason many parents are hesitant about undergoing the adoption process is the persistent myths that surround it. While the process certainly requires money and patience, it can be well worth it in the long run. 

Three misconceptions regarding insurance settlements

If you have been in a car accident, you are not alone. Many people get in a collision that results in injuries and even death. These incidents can be traumatic, and it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible. Luckily, insurance may coordinate this, and they may even offer a settlement following the accident to compensate you for your damages.

Receiving a settlement is a good thing, of course, but you should be careful not to accept it too hastily. Many people make the mistake of accepting an insurer's first settlement offer only to find that lawyer's fees, medical bills and recouping lost income immediately eat it up. Avoid failing for the following common misconceptions.

How do courts handle property division in a divorce?

One main issue of contention for many married couples in Minnesota who are going through a divorce is finances. On television, one spouse misleads the other about accounts and does things to destroy marital property to keep the other spouse from receiving anything. In real life, those kinds of tactics are unlawful and can affect your divorce settlement. 

You may not feel you have much wealth or assets to share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. In a divorce, all marital assets are subject to be distributed equitably. That means that if you and your partner do not have a valid prenuptial agreement or cannot decide on how to handle most property division issues yourselves, a judge will split them as fairly as possible. 

Lesser-known benefits of joint-custody arrangements

Major family changes such as separation or divorce are often tough on everyone involved, and you may not initially feel comfortable or content if you and your ex-partner end up with a joint-custody arrangement. Going from spending every day and night with your child to only seeing him or her at predetermined times can prove emotionally taxing and stressful, but once you adjust to the idea, you may begin to see some silver linings.

In addition to giving your child a chance to see that both parents still want to provide care and make him or her a priority, joint-custody arrangements can also offer benefits to you. These might include:


Pennington, Cherne, Gaarder & Geiger Hagen, PLLC
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P.O. Box 1756
St Cloud, MN 56302

Phone: 320-200-9805
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