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Jennifer Ronae Lewis Kannegieter

Jennifer Kannegieter’s Answers

51 total


  • Can all assets (including real estate) be divided in a legal /financial marital separation - without having to divorce?

    My sister, who is Catholic, as am I - is considering divorce for financial independence because someone told her that she would not be able to equitably divide ALL assets doing simply a legal / financial separation. I believe she would prefer to ...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    New York law must be different than Minnesota law.

    We do not have specific separation agreements. A contract between a married couple is considered a post-nuptial agreement and there are specific factors that must be followed for the agreement to be enforced (including both parties having an attorney and a divorce not starting within a certain time frame after).

    Here in MN, it is possible to get a legal separation. To obtain a legal separation, you have to go through a court process nearly the same as a divorce. It is very rare, many legal separations are quickly end up as divorces. A legal separation will determine use and possession of marital assets and responsibility for marital debts and support payments. But it will not result in financial independence for your sister.

    Your sister should consult with a divorce attorney so that she can gain a better understanding of divorce and legal separation and understand what could or could not give her the protection she is looking for.

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  • How do i ask for more visitation time with my son?

    I have a 1 and half year old son. My name is not on the birth certificate. Paternity was tested and I am his father. I pay child support and I want more visitation hours then 4 hours a week what can I don or what do I need to do. The mother and I ...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    There are different options you can take, and the best course will depend a lot on your circumstances. What is your relationship with the mother like? Can the two of you reach any agreements or will she fight you on everything? Was child support officially established in the court - or do you just pay informally? How much visitation (or parenting time) do you want, what is your plan for it?

    Informal arrangements can work fine, but eventually you will want a court order that lays out a schedule. A court order is enforceable and establishes expectations. With young kids it is usually a good idea to have frequent, shorter visits and gradually increasing to longer visits. If you have been paying child support informally, getting a court order may change your child support obligation. If the relationship between parents is cordial, it may be a quick and easy process. If the relationship is already stressed, the court process may make things worse between the two of you.

    To get more time you can either ask your son's mother for more time, or bring a court action and ask the court for more time. If nothing has been addressed in the court, it may be a motion to establish paternity, custody, child support, parenting time. If you have had a previous court action, then depending on what was happened before, it may be a motion for parenting time assistance, or a motion to establish custody and parenting time.

    I do suggest you have an initial consultation with a family law attorney who will take the time to find out the background information and advise you on the best course of action. Many attorneys offer initial consultations for a minimal fee.

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  • How can i find out who had custody of me as a child ?

    I know very few details as both of my parents are now deceased. Some family members claim my father took my sister and I from my mother. While others claim the courts had awarded my mother custody.

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Of course asking family members for as much information as possible is always the first step.

    Family court records are generally open to the public, so that might be the way to go. Many states are starting to put general records online, so you could check online a the state's courts website. If you find the online record, that will tell you the county and court file number. You would then contact that county and ask for the divorce decree. I tend to find a lot of information online, just by doing a little bit of searching.

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  • Newborn Custody Question! HELP!!!

    I am three months pregnant and the father of my child wants 50/50 custody once the baby is born. I 100% plan on breast feeding and can't imagine having my newborn baby leave overnight, let alone whole weekend while it is only days or weeks old. No...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Now is the time to start educating yourself on paternity, child custody, and child support. Chrysalis offers a 2 1/2 hour class on these issues called Child Custody and Support. You might also be able to find an attorney willing to give you a mini-lesson on these issues for a low consultation rate. Personally, I feel it is so important for clients to be educated on these different issues I tend to use consultations as an opportunity for "child custody boot camp."

    Parents who live halfway across the country from each other, do not have 50/50 custody arrangements, it is just not practical. Nobody can afford to fly a child back and forth every other week, and nobody expects a child to live half the year in one state and half the year in another.

    To get some information on paternity, custody, and parenting time, I would suggest reading a couple of guides available online ("Being a Legal Father" and "A Parental Guide to Making Child-Focused Parenting Time Decisions"), and to check out some of the other articles on Law Help MN.

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  • Dad wants Parenting time with Son, can Mom Specify where Dad takes him?

    My fiance just filed paperwork for Parenting time with his son. They have never been married and he did sign a recongnition of Parentage. Her only basis for not allowing him visitiation is because she does not like me. She found out that i was ...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Generally speaking, parents are expected to be able to make the parenting decisions (including where the child will be) during his or her parenting time. Some parents have a very difficult time accepting this and try to put limitations on the other parent. For a judge to order restrictions on parenting time, the parent requesting the restriction usually needs to prove some sort of safety concern for the child, and might also need to provide some sort of reasonable alternative.

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  • Absentee parent returns, have been involved with daughter for one year, can they get joint/legal custody?

    I've always had full legal/physical custody of my daughter. Father left me when I was pregnant and I told him when I was due and the sex of the baby. I refused to see him in person however because there was history of abuse (though none on recor...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    This is a very fact-specific question... Really the only person who could answer the question of "will he be granted joint legal custody" would be the judge who has to make the decision. But to even answer the question of "might he be granted joint legal custody," you would really need to get into the facts of your situation and the history of the court case.

    If you would really like to talk about the specifics of your case and get some guidance on what to expect, then I would suggest you spend some time talking to a family law attorney. Many attorneys offer free or low-cost consultations. Or there are some organizations that have "law clinics" which give you an opportunity to consult with an attorney. One such organization is Chrysalis (www.chrysaliswomen.org).

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  • My ex and I bought a home, gave him legal rights in divorce decree- any way to put a limit on time to refinance?

    I have been divorced almost three years- In our divorce decree he got the house with a set amount to be sent to me when the home was sold or refinanced. He tried to refinance right away but his credit was not good enough on his own. I am just wo...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    Carefully read the language of your divorce decree for any deadline. When I draft this type of language, I always include some sort of "drop-dead" date (i.e. 1) when the house is sold 2) when the house is refinanced 3) or no later than January 1, 2010). If you need to enforce something in the divorce decree, most decrees contain some sort of language requiring parties to try mediation before going back to court., so you will want to check your document for that. If there is no date certain, it might be near impossible to force him to refinance, especially if he is making timely payments so you are not being directly harmed by it. Even if there is a date certain, a Judge may be reluctant to force a re-fi in today's housing market, your ex may not be able to refinance.

    Many lawyers offer a free initial consultation and you may be able to find one who can answer some of your specific questions.

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  • Is a contract created between two married people in their 10th year of marriage legal?

    My father remarried at 70 and was married to my step mother for 12 years. In their 10th year of marriage, my stepmother paid of some loans my father had made against his insurance policies. In return, he removed his children and placed her and he...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    If a married couple enters into a contact with each other, it is considered a post nuptial agreement. It must then comply with the statutory requirements, which includes that each party must be represented by separate attorneys.

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  • Bio-dad wants my son's name changed to his. Son has my maiden name. I have my maiden name hyphen married name. Will it change?

    Will judge change my son's last name to his bio-dad's? or have it hyphenated with bio-dad's? bio-Dad has only been involved for one year with my three year old. I have raised child from day one and he broke up with me when I didn't have an aborti...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    It is hard to know what the judge will do. When considering the name change, the judge will rely on the "best interests" of the child. I would guess that the judge would likely either keep the child's name as is, or hyphenate the last names. But it all depends on the judge and the facts provided for the court.

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  • Child custody after the divorce is finalized

    Hi, I got my divorce finalized in march of 2007 and my exhusband got the custody of our daughter who is now 4. Since october of 08, I moved back to my hometown of Montreal, Canada and would like to have custody of my daughter. What do I need to d...

    Jennifer’s Answer

    For a change of custody you must either have an agreement of the parties or bring a court motion and prove to the court that there has been a change since the last order and that your daughter is either in danger if she stays with her father, or there has been an "integration" and your daughter really has been living with you for a long period of time.

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