Lots happening to impact the practice of family law…
Amended family law rules went into effect on May 1. You can read the amendments here.
Of note, the changes update terminology, streamline proceedings, and create three new forms. The changes came out of Divorce Camp 2009, with goals of making the rules reflect current practice in the District Courts and of making the rules more user-friendly for pro se litigants.
The new rules require three new forms for all actions pending on the effective date of May 1 and to those filed thereafter.
- Parenting/Financial Disclosure Statement
- Certificate of Settlement Efforts
- Initial Case Management Statement
These new forms are available at the Minnesota Judicial Branch website.
H.F. 322: Presumption of Joint Custody
This controversial bill is currently in the Senate. From the MSBA’s Capitol Connection email and blog:
JOINT PHYSICAL CUSTODY BILL ADVANCES IN SENATE
HF322, a bill that would alter Minnesota’s parenting time baseline presumption, was heard for a second time in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it was re-referred after being altered in the Senate Health and Human Services Committee. The Judiciary Committee voted to send the bill, which is opposed by the Family Law Section, to the Senate Finance Committee without a recommendation. The version of the bill that passed the House last month would raise the current presumption of 25% physical custody to 45.1%, and would only allow the presumption to be overcome by proving, to a clear and convincing standard, the type of mistreatment that would trigger child protection proceedings. The presumption would therefore override the longstanding “best interests of the child” factors in most contested cases. The Senate Judiciary Committee eliminated most of the House language and set the presumption at 35%.
The Senate Finance Committee passed the bill today and sent it to the Senate floor. If the bill becomes law, a wave of custody modification requests is expected to strain the court system, but no plan has been offered to cover the increased costs, which, because of delayed effective dates, may not occur until the state’s next fiscal biennium.
Future updates will be posted here.
practicelaw Family Law Forms and Advisory Group
I’m working on expanding the family law forms library on practicelaw. Of note:
- A few months ago we added a Complaint to Establish Paternity (FAM-300), thanks to Central Minnesota Legal Services. Last week we updated it to reflect the new Rule 314 (Parentage Proceedings).
- We are planning to add forms regarding custody outside of a dissolution, adoption (step and international), and third-party custody, plus a few other miscellaneous forms.
- The J&D is regularly reviewed and updated. If you have a suggested change, please let me know. The form is here (FAM-680)
We need help with our new forms! We are in need of forms for international adoption and a financial affidavit for child support – if you have one that you would be willing to share, we will edit and format and give you credit on practicelaw.
We would also like to assemble a group of family law practitioners who we (I) can consult from time to time to ask questions as I update our forms. If you are interested in answering questions or reviewing language occasionally, please let me know. You can contact me by email.