BAKER VICCHIOLLO LAW LLC 3300 Edinborough Way Suite 550 Edina MN 55435

FAQ

ADOPTION

+  ARE THERE DIFFERENT TYPES OF ADOPTION?

Adoption takes place in various forms which are generally classified as: independent, agency, step parent, relative placement and adult adoption. Independent adoption occurs when birth parents and adoptive families find each other on their own or through the help of an adoption intermediary, i.e. a pastor, family friend or doctor. Agency adoptions are handled through a child placement agency and approximately two-thirds of all adoptions in the United States are arranged through agencies.

In a step-parent adoption, the family adopting is a birth parent with a new spouse. Adult adoption is the process whereby a person eighteen years or older is legally adopted by one or more persons eighteen years or older, and relative placement adoption occurs when the birth parent(s) is still a minor, has died or is disabled, or the child has been removed due to abuse and neglect, and another relative assumes physical custody and responsibility for the child.

+  What is The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction and How Does it Apply to Family Law?

When families move internationally, or are created internationally, international treaties and custody laws may be at issue.

One example is the instance in which a child is wrongfully removed from or held in a foreign country. If this happens, the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction may apply.

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty that United States has entered with many other countries around the world. If the country that is at issue in your case is a signatory of the Hague Convention treaty, then that country’s legal system and the U.S. State Department will assist in facilitating the return of your child from the United States.

However, the process of facilitating the return of a wrongfully removed child is a process that requires prompt action and extensive knowledge of the procedures and documentation required by the Hague Convention to prevail in the return of a wrongfully removed child. Baker Vicchiollo Law, LLC has experience with cases involving The Hague Convention and are here to help.

+  Do I need an attorney to adopt a child?

The short answer is: no, you do not need an attorney to adopt a child.  However, as with many other types of legal proceedings, hiring a knowledgeable attorney to guide you through the adoption process can bring you confidence during what is often a confusing and stressful time.

The role of the adoption attorney may range from consultation to full representation, and may include services such as: educating on the process and procedures, coordinating stakeholders, explaining state or international laws, reviewing or drafting paperwork, or appearing with you during adoption proceedings.

Contact our firm today to set up a free adoption consultation.

DIVORCE

+  DO I HAVE TO GO TO COURT TO OBTAIN A DIVORCE?

A Court of law is the only way in which one can obtain a divorce decree, legal separation, annulment or other form of terminating a marriage in MinnesotOther than the dissolution of the marriage, the Court also has jurisdiction to resolve other issues that are intertwined in the existing marriage which include, but are not limited to: custody and parenting time, division of property of the marriage, spousal maintenance (alimony), child support, and division of debt.

Although a Court is the only entity empowered to officially enter a divorce decree and to make Court Orders regarding issues in dispute, you may be able to minimize your time in Court during the proceedings using mediation or some other form of Alternative Dispute Resolution, or by otherwise opting to proceed in the Collaborative Divorce process. If the parties reach a complete agreement in the context of one of these processes, such as mediation, and the facts of your case are such that the Rules allow, it is possible that you may be able to obtain a divorce without having to appear at a Court hearing.

+  CAN I OBJECT TO THE TERMS MY SPOUSE HAS REQUESTED IN OUR DIVORCE?

Yes, you (along with your attorney) can reject the terms of your spouse’s offer. The Court can decide disputed issues of fact or law related to property rights, parenting time, custody or support.

+  WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF USING THE COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS FOR MY DIVORCE, CHILD CUSTODY OR OTHER FAMILY LAW CASE?

  • The Collaborative Law process can be less costly and time-consuming than litigation.
  • You are a vital part of the settlement team which includes financial, family and child specialists.
  • All parties are supported by their lawyers and yet they work cooperatively with the other parties and their lawyer(s) in resolving the issues.
  • The process can be much less fear and anxiety-producing than using Court proceedings or the threat of such proceedings.
  • Everyone can focus on settlement.
  • The possibility exists that the participants can create a climate that facilitates “win-win” settlements.

+  HOW DO I KNOW WHETHER THE COLLABORATIVE LAW PROCESS IS THE BEST CHOICE FOR ME AND MY CASE?

It isn’t for every client (or every lawyer), but it is worth considering if some or all of these are true for you:

  • You want a civilized and respectful resolution of the divorce issues.
  • You would like to keep open the possibility of friendship with your partner down the road.
  • You and your partner will be co-parenting children together and you want the best co-parenting relationship possible.
  • You want to protect your children from the harm associated with litigation between parents.
  • You value control and autonomous decision making and do not want to hand over decisions about restructuring your financial and/or child-rearing arrangements to a third party, for example, a judge.
  • You recognize the restricted range of outcomes generally available in the public Court system, and want a more creative and individualized range of choices available to you and your spouse or partner for resolving your issues.
  • You understand that conflict resolution with integrity involves achieving not only your own goals but also finding a way to achieve the reasonable goals of the other person and the family.

+  I need a QDRO (Qualified Domestic Relations Order), where do I begin?

The QDRO describes how retirement funds will be distributed following a divorce. Model language varies between retirement plans as may the process for drafting the QDRO and agreed upon the terms, prior to submitting to the Court so that an order can be issued. The attorneys at Baker Vicchiollo Law LLC offer a free initial 45-minute consultation, which can assist in determining what the appropriate first step is based on your circumstances and the specific retirement funds being split.

+  How much will it cost to get a divorce?

The cost of the divorce depends on many factors. Baker Vicchiollo Law LLC offers a free consultation, which provides the opportunity for an attorney at the Firm to gather more information and determine options for moving forward. During the consultation, an attorney can provide a general idea about cost, but some factors are not within the control of the attorney or client, including the unique facts of the case and factors that are driven by the other party and the Court. For that reason, an attorney cannot be specific about how much a divorce will cost, as it varies. However, a 45-minute initial consultation with an attorney at is free of charge.

There are ways to attempt to minimize the cost of a divorce, including by being efficient in communications with your attorney, being involved and responsive in the process such as by obtaining statement and other information necessary to assist with the legal process, and by being selective regarding how the Firm’s services are utilized.

+  How long will the divorce process take?

There is no set amount of time, and the amount of time varies with each individual case. Some cases settle before even filing the initial paperwork, and others must be decided by the judge after full proceedings and a trial. Possible factors that can contribute to the length of the divorce process include the issues and facts of the case (such as the number of issues in dispute and whether the parties have minor children), whether the parties are able to reach an agreement on all issues and when, whether or not the opposing side hires an attorney, and the requirements of the Court.

+  What are the first steps I should take if I want to get a divorce?

Although circumstances vary, in general, the first step to initiate a divorce proceeding is to serve the other party with the appropriate initial pleadings necessary to commence a divorce in the State of Minnesota, and in accordance with the Rules. It is important to consult with an experienced divorce attorney if you are considering a divorce. The attorneys at Baker Vicchiollo Law LLC offer a free initial 45-minute consultation, during which options for moving forward can be assessed.

+  If we mediate do we still have to go to court?

Not necessarily, but it depends on whether an agreement is reached in mediation, whether both parties are represented at the time of an agreement, and whether the parties’ have minor children. If the parties reach a full settlement in mediation, and both parties are represented by attorneys and/or there are no minor children involved, it is possible to reduce the agreements reached in mediation to a Stipulated Court Order and to not have to appear in Court.

ESTATE

+  How do I figure out what kind of will or estate plan that I need?

The attorneys at Baker Vicchiollo Law LLC offer a free initial 45-minute consultation, during which the different types of Wills and estate planning documents can be discussed, as well as options for how Baker Vicchiollo Law LLC may be able to assist you with your unique factual circumstances.

+  What if I die without a will?

If you die without a Will, you will be deemed to have died “intestate.” In Minnesota, statutory provisions dictate the default manner in which property of an intestate estate will be distributed, including the order of intestate succession among heirs of an intestate decedent.

GENERAL

+  Are any of your attorneys bilingual?

Yes, we have attorneys that are fluent in Spanish and proficient in Russian.

+  Why will you need my ex-spouse or estranged spouse’s name?

Attorneys are required to comply with Minnesota Rues of Professional Conduct (Rule 1.18 “Duties to Prospective Client”). The name of the opposing party is for the purpose of conducting a conflict check to determine if our attorney(s) is precluded from representing you. If there is a conflict, you will be told as such, however, due to confidentiality, we will not be able to tell you why the conflict exists.

GENERAL – COST

+  How can I minimize the cost of my divorce (or other family law matter)?

  • Responsive – reply in a timely manner to minimize staff time to follow-up with your and/or the opposing parties
  • Organized – have your documents organized…
  • Concise – when contacting your attorney or the attorneys staff, be as concise as possible in both verbal and written correspondence.
  • Flexible – be open to negotiating; know your priorities and the issues on which you are willing to compromise.

+  How much is the retainer fee to get started?

The retainer fee varies based on the type of case. The retainer required is based on several factors determined through the consultation process. For example, a divorce that is complex due to disputes over custody, property, or business ownership, will likely require a higher retainer to establish representation. A divorce involving no children or few contested issues may necessitate a lower retainer to get started. Contact the firm to schedule a free 45-minute consultation to find out what the retainer requirement is for your specific case.

+  Will I have to pay a retainer and do you accept credit cards?

Yes, you will have to pay a retainer fee upfront and sign a retainer agreement in order for our firm to represent you. Our firm does accept credit cards: Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express.

NUPTIALS

+  SHOULD I MAKE A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT WITH MY FUTURE SPOUSE?

The answer to this question depends on your specific circumstances, and on the two of you as individuals. Financial planners and divorce attorneys generally recommend that prenuptial agreements should be considered if any of the following apply: there are children involved from a previous marriage, there is an individual ownership of a business or family company, there are significant individual assets or a substantially unequal income between parties, or there is concern about a future spouse’s personal debt.

Since laws about what constitute marital property and what governs the division of assets after marriage varies from state to state, a prenuptial agreement can work as a legal protection mechanism for both parties, based on the circumstances.

Often, prenuptial agreements are misunderstood. It is argued that prenuptial agreements are an attack on trust, or evidence that financial matters outweigh the presence of love in a marriage. This is not necessarily true. Oftentimes, prenuptial agreements are made by couples who want to bypass the mandates of Court in the event of a divorce or death, or couples who have children or grandchildren from prior marriages and want to take protective measures to designate that individual property such as businesses or estates pass down to the family rather than the spouse.

+  CAN A PRENUPTIAL AGREEMENT BE MODIFIED AFTER MARRIAGE?

Yes. Any terms of a prenuptial agreement can legally be altered or modified in the future, if both parties so decide. Other terms of the prenuptial agreement not altered will remain intact, unless both parties revoke the entire agreement in writing.

As prenuptial agreements are becoming increasingly common, so are similar documents called post nuptials agreements. Post nuptials agreements are much like prenuptials, but are drafted and signed after a couple has been married, and are subject to more stringent requirements and greater scrutiny by the Court in the event a party to the agreement seeks to enforce it. Post nuptials can be drawn up at any time during a marriage.

SUPPORT

+  IS A FATHER WHO NEVER MARRIED THE MOTHER STILL REQUIRED TO PAY CHILD SUPPORT? WHAT IF THE FATHER IS NOT ALLOWED TO SEE THE CHILD?

If determined by the Court to be the legal father (presumed, Recognition of Parentage, adjudicated, or through adoption), the father may be required to pay child support. Child support should not be confused with custody or parenting time, for both of which the legal father may petition the Court. Minnesota does not permit a parent to withhold child support because of disputes over custody or parenting time. If a non-custodial parent believes their parenting time is being disrupted, the parent should contact an attorney to discuss options.

You can find additional information regarding paternity on the Minnesota Judicial Branch website at: www.mncourts.gov/ Help-Topics/Paternity.aspx#WhatisPaternity.

+  WHAT HAPPENS TO A PARENT WHO REFUSES TO PAY COURT ORDERED CHILD SUPPORT?

Under the Child Support Enforcement Act of 1984, it is against the law for any parent to not pay Court ordered child support to the custodial parent. Federal laws permit the interception of tax refunds by government officials to enforce child support orders, and other methods of enforcement used by government officials include wage attachments, seizure of property, suspension of a business license and possible driver’s license revocation. If none of these attempts are entirely successful, the Court of law that issued the child support order can hold the parent in contempt and, in the absence of a reasonable explanation for the delinquency, impose a jail term.

+  WILL THERE BE A SPOUSAL MAINTENANCE (ALIMONY) AWARD IN MY CASE?

That depends. Whether there is an argument for a spousal maintenance award, as well as the amount and duration of such an award, if any, involves an analysis of a variety of factors including but not limited to: each party’s income, reasonable monthly expenses, length of marriage, etc. An attorney can assist in an assessment of whether spousal maintenance may apply to your particular circumstances.