Minnesota Family Law Bills Become Law. What Does it Mean?

Just a billOn May 14, 2015, Governor Dayton signed the omnibus family law bill (S.F. 1191) 1191 (now Minnesota Session Laws chapter 30) and a week later SF No. 1458 (now Minnesota Session Laws chapter 71).  The laws are a series reforms in the area of family law, some more significant than others.

If you are a single parent or going through a divorce, you may wonder what the changes will mean to you.  Bloomgren Hanson Legal will be providing a series of posts that address the changes to the law in more detail.  To start, below is a simple outline of the major changes to the law.

S.F. 1191’s highlights include:

  • rewriting the Best Interests of the Child Statute (Minn. Stat. § 518.17, subd. 1)
  • clarifying the remedies available when a party has been denied court ordered parenting time;
  • granting authority to parties to contractually agree to grant the court jurisdiction to award or modify maintenance that has been previously divested of jurisdiction;
  • providing greater detail of the documents parties must exchange to verify income for child support and spousal maintenance purposes after the entry of the divorce decree as well as remedies for non-compliance;
  • creating a clear test for the court to apply in awarding the tax dependency exemptions for minor children and modifying the award of the same;
  • granting  authority for the court to retroactively modify maintenance and support with the agreement of the parties;
  • modifying the judgment rate of interest for support judgments in family law cases; and
  •  adopting the Uniform Deployed Parents Custody and Visitation Act.

All of the above changes are effective August 1, 2015.  In addition, SF No. 1458 includes the following changes which are primarily be effective on various dates in 2016:

  • creating a medical support-only basis for modification and other modifications to the medical support provisions and references in the statutes to primarily address issues relating to medical support created since implementation of the Affordable Care Act (some of the changes that merely strike reference to Minnesota Care are effective on July 1, 2015);
  • granting specific authority to the court to deviate from the child support guidelines when there is significant income disparity between the parties;
  • adding requirements for the public authority to report child support and spousal maintenance arrears to the credit reporting agencies;
  •  modifying one of the means of determining potential income by reducing the presumptive hours and rate that a party can earn to 100 percent of the minimum wage for 30 hours per week;
  • changing to the provisions regarding the policy and reporting requirements regarding abuse and child endangerment.

Check back for more analysis on how the changes to the law may affect you and your family.