While the majority of Toepfer at Law’s estate planning practice is attached to divorce cases (modifying existing plans to remove now ex-spouses as beneficiaries), we do offer estate planning services for non-divorce customers. Every Toepfer at Law estate plan is comprised of three basic documents:
Despite what you may have seen in movies or TV shows, the concept of “alimony” doesn’t really exist in Minnesota. However, we do have something called “spousal maintenance” which serves a similar purpose. Spousal maintenance is rarely intended to be permanent. Typically, maintenance is set for a limited number of years to allow the spouse receiving maintenance to obtain education or training so they can reenter the workforce and become self-supporting Sometimes maintenance is set for an indefinite period, to be reviewed by the court at a later date. Life-changing circumstances for the party paying maintenance may justify a deviation from the original award. If you are currently paying maintenance and have lost your job, your business has taken an unexpected downturn, or some other event has caused a significant downward shift in your income, you may be in a position to ask for a modification of an existing maintenance order.
Generally, when a couple with children divorces or otherwise stops living together, the court will expect that the parents will remain living close enough to each other to make transporting the children back and forth for parenting time feasible. Sometimes, however, work or other opportunities may take one parent away from the child’s home state. To maintain custody of the child in these situations, that parent will need to request permission from the court to move out of state. These situations also tend to coincide with modifications of parenting time agreements and child support.
Toepfer at Law can help protect the interests of either party to a proposed marriage through the drafting and review of prenuptial agreements. While not necessarily romantic, a prenuptial agreement is a practical document that everyone getting married should consider. Prenuptial agreements are not just for the protection of wealthy individuals; they serve as a set of guidelines for any marriage and can reduce conflict in the unfortunate event of divorce.