Pennington, Cherne, Gaarder & Geiger Hagen, PLLC

St. Cloud PCG's Law Blog

3 mistakes to avoid during divorce

If you are currently moving through a divorce, you most likely have many decisions to make. On top of the stress from these decisions, there is also the emotional component of the divorce, which can be as difficult, if not more difficult, as the technical aspects of the divorce process.

With so much financial and emotional pressure coming down on you from all sides during this time, it can be easy to make simple but costly mistakes. Here are three missteps you should take pains to avoid as you move through your divorce. Staying clear of these errors can help you in both the short-term and in your future post-divorce life.

You do not have to take an insurance company's first offer

Hundreds of car accidents happen every day in Minnesota. In 2015 alone, a total of 74,772 car crashes occurred, according to information from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety

Some car crash cases are fairly straightforward because there are no injuries and minimal damage to the vehicles. However, in some cases, someone will experience a far more traumatic injury that could result in tens of thousands of dollars in medical expenses. In this instance, one of the most important things to remember during the settlement is to never take the insurance company's first offer. 

How easy is it to adopt in Minnesota?

If you are thinking about adopting child in Minnesota, you will be glad to know that our state has very liberal adoption laws. Bear in mind, however, that the following information applies only to the adoption laws of Minnesota and therefore children adopted through the juvenile division of the Department of Human Services. Private adoption agencies have their own rules and regulations to which you must adhere if you desire to adopt a child through them.

In terms of Minnesota law per se, no requirements exist with regard to any of the following:

  • Minimum or maximum age you must be to adopt
  • Marital status - single, married (heterosexual or same-sex), divorced or widowed
  • Previous felony
  • Specific health requirements
  • Specific financial requirements

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. 


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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