Pennington & Cherne, PLLC

St. Cloud PCG's Law Blog

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:

3 costly mistakes men make during divorce

As you are heading toward divorce, you need to start getting prepared for the many challenges you will face. Men and women generally face different issues during and after divorce, so it is crucial to be ready for unique problems you will have to deal with. So how do you know what problems you might have? 

Generally speaking, men make mistakes when it comes to credit, real property and retirement assets. Here is what to avoid so you do not put yourself at a significant disadvantage. 

What to do if your ex-wife is not letting you see your child

Despite your best efforts to develop and adhere to a healthy co-parenting plan after divorce, your ex may not be following the rules. If your ex-wife is the custodial parent, and you are seeing your child less and less, you are probably frustrated and concerned. You might be tempted to accept this behavior and not start a fight, but there are ways to resolve this type of situation.

According to Minnesota law, it is a felony to deprive another parent of parental rights. Here are some things you should consider if you are not seeing your child when you should be.

3 mistakes to avoid during your child custody battle

When you divorce and are trying to work out a parenting plan, you might find that you have to go to court for a child custody order. Going to court to battle for custody can be emotionally draining. Due to the stress and difficulty of this process, you may make some mistakes that could hurt your case.

Even the best parents can end up being considered unfit due to simple mistakes. Keep reading to learn about common mistakes made during custody battles and how to avoid them.

Disadvantages of a DIY divorce

According to a report in the Star Tribune, Minnesota’s marriage rate is declining. In 1940, the rate was 76 percent. By 2000, the rate was 52 percent, and in 2010, it had dropped to 48 percent. Many younger people are simply delaying marriage, but divorce has a lot to do with declining marriage rates, too. People without college degrees are not staying married. Low income can lead to marriage instability, which leads to divorce. 

If you do not have a lot of income, you may consider representing yourself in a divorce, almost like a do-it-yourself project. In legal terms, this is called pro se. You have the right to act as your own counsel, but the question is whether it is a good idea to represent yourself in a divorce. Yes, you do save money by filing your own paperwork and handling the court process, but you should consider the disadvantages as well. 

  • There is a lot of paperwork for child custody, support, name changes and property title changes. One small error could be devastating to your divorce.
  • You will have no help from the judge or the other lawyer if you act as your own attorney. You will have to be completely prepared when you come to court, even if you do not know what to prepare for.
  • You will not have a buffer between you and your spouse, a role an attorney often takes to keep you from fighting over the details of your divorce.

Does the Department of State help during your foreign adoption?

Many Americans are choosing international adoptions, but navigating adoption law in two separate countries can be quite difficult, and parents may hope that the U.S. Department of State will help. However, the Department of State cannot represent adoptive parents in court or become involved in the adoption process. The agency does offer some assistance for prospective parents, and some potential problems too.

Avoid unnecessary conflict in divorce by creating documentation

You and your partner may be separating amicably, but in many cases, there is at least some tension between the two parties involved in a divorce. There are several ways to mitigate this and prevent it from turning into resentment, but one of the best approaches is to minimize the unnecessary conflict that can be caused by disputes and lack of documentation. To make the process easier on all involved, and especially yourself, you should be proactive in gathering documentation for the following items.

Avoiding common adoption mistakes

If you are considering adopting a child because of infertility, a desire to help someone in need or for another reason entirely, know that adoption can be one of life's greatest joys. It can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child and in yours, as well, but the decision to adopt is a lasting one, and one that should not be made without considerable forethought.

Every adoption is entirely different, but there are common errors prospective adoptive parents often make that can make the process more arduous or stressful than it needs to be. Recognizing and understanding the following common adoption mistakes may help you avoid making them yourself and therefore ease the overall process of adoption.


Pennington, Cherne, & Gaarder, PLLC
630 Roosevelt Road, Suite 101
P.O. Box 1756
St Cloud, MN 56302

Phone: 320-200-9805
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