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Valerie Ann Downing Arnold

Valerie Arnold’s Answers

16 total

  • If I have no physical custody and 50% Legal custody can my ex move out of state with my son?

    He gave me no notice he was moving, he took my son on a two week vacation to arizona and we currently reside in Minnesota. He called a week after they left and said he got a job there and he would be moving to AZ. Can he legally do that?

    Valerie’s Answer

    Under Minnesota law, a custodial parent may not move a child out of state without the consent of the other parent or a court order.

    If the child is presently in Arizona, an action should be filed to obtain the child's return to Minnesota and enforce your parenting rights (assuming you have visitation rights) and/or request a change of physical custody.

    If the child is still present in Minnesota, you should notify the father that you oppose him moving the child out of state. If later he moves with the child without your consent or a court order, you should promptly seek relief from the Court.

    In cases where the court allows a parent to move a child out-of-state over the other parent's objections, parenting time would normally be modified to meet the changed circumstances so that the left-behind parent is able to continue a relationship with the child.

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  • Is it possible to get legally married in the US before divorce is finalized in Europe?

    my boyfriend has been separated from wife in Europe for about 7-8 years, but did not yet finalize divorce. Is it possible for us to get married in US prior to divorce being finalized in Europe?

    Valerie’s Answer

    The answer would depend upon the country in Europe and the procedural status of his divorce case there. In some countries, the issue of the dissolution of the bonds of matrimony will be treated separately from the substantive issues of the divorce such as property division or child custody. If the bonds of matrimony have not been dissolved, the U.S. marriage would not be valid. A consultation with your boyfriend's attorney in Europe and local counsel in Minnesota would be recommended to determine the procedural status of the European divorce and whether any additional steps need to be taken before a second marriage would be valid in the U.S.

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  • If I am currently living in Colombia and plan to divorce, will USA recognize it as legal?

    I am a US citizen who plans to move back to US soon after I get divorced to my Colombian husband. We married in Colombia and lived in the US for a time during our marriage, but are now back in Colombia. I am hoping US will see this dissolution as ...

    Valerie’s Answer

    Provided there are no challenges to due process or notice, foreign decrees may be recognized in the U.S. under the doctrine of comity. In Minnesota, a party may petition for recognition through the family court with a certified and translated copy of the decree. If your former spouse does not object to the registration process, it can be accomplished through a joint petition, which would be the fastest and most cost-effective means to accomplish the registration. If you do not plan to reside in Minnesota, you will need to inquire as to the registration process specific to the state where you will be residing.

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  • How can I get a divorce if my wife is out of the USA?

    I'm an American citizen and got married in August 2010. My wife didn't get a legal status because she went to Europe and can't come back. How can I get a divorce? What is the cost of this kind of divorce? Thank you!

    Valerie’s Answer

    You may file for divorce in the State of Minnesota if you have resided (or have been domiciled) in this state for at least 180 days. If you and your spouse are in agreement regarding the terms of your divorce, you can avoid having to serve your wife in Europe by filing a joint petition with your wife's signature and a waiver of counsel as applicable. If your spouse is not in agreement, it would be necessary to serve her abroad, which would include following the country-specific rules for service abroad including translation requirements. Depending upon the specific circumstances of your case, the process can be relatively inexpensive.

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  • How do i cancel my i-130 i filed for my husband in India. I am a U.S. citizen.

    Hi. I filed a I-130 for my husband in August of 2009. It has been 16 months since i last saw him. He was finally called for interview last month but he didn't get his visa because they needed additional documents. In 16 months going through this p...

    Valerie’s Answer

    In response to your question on getting a divorce, you may file for divorce in the State of Minnesota if you have maintained Minnesota as your legal residence or domicile for at least 180 days prior to starting your divorce action. Only one party needs to meet the residency/domicile requirement to initiate a divorce action in Minnesota. However, if your case involves property, support, or child-related issues, the jurisdictional issues may be more complex.

    If the divorce is uncontested, it may be possible to obtain a divorce through a joint petition, which can be approved and filed administratively. If there are contested issues, you will need to initiate a divorce proceeding by service of the Summons and Petition.

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  • Can I have a child custody case held in Minnesota when the mother who is primary care giver has moved to Iowa?

    My daughter is 2 years old. She was born here in Minnesota where also the child support orders are through. Her mother moved to Iowa for work about one and a half years ago. As of now I have no custodial rights to her and would like to obtain w...

    Valerie’s Answer

    If no child custody or parenting time order has been previously issued in Minnesota regarding your daughter, Iowa would have jurisdiction over custody and parenting time rights. In initial custody and parenting time cases, jurisdiction is determined based upon where the child has been living for the past six months. Based upon your question, it appears that your child has been living in Iowa for the past eighteen months. Therefore, Iowa is the "home state" of your daughter and the proper jurisdiction to make custody and parenting time decisions.

    If the Minnesota child support case also made a custody and/or parenting time order, child custody jurisdiction would be analyzed differently. In cases where you are asking a court to modify or expand an existing custody or parenting time decision, jurisdiction would remain in the state that issued the original custody/parenting time order so long as the child or one of the parents continued to reside in the original custody/parenting time order issuing state. Therefore, if Minnesota has already issued a custody and/or parenting time decision regarding your daughter, Minnesota would have what's called "exclusive continuing jurisdiction" to address further custody and/or parenting time issues.

    If Iowa has child custody jurisdiction as the home state of your daughter, the only way to have your case heard in Minnesota would be to have Iowa affirmatively decline jurisdiction in favor of Minnesota. This would be costly to pursue with very little chance of success. If Iowa has jurisdiction over child custody and parenting time, a better approach may simply be to file for custody and parenting time rights in Iowa and ask that any custody/parenting time evaluation ordered include evaluation of your home and proposed custodial environment in Minnesota.

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  • I asked a question about my grandchildren being in foster care and want to bring them back to MN.

    Did your advice and called 3 family layers in Houston Texas, they all had a outragous retainers. This doesn't seem fair to the kids or to us, its all about the money not about the kids.

    Valerie’s Answer

    I'm sorry that you were not able to locate an affordable family law attorney in Texas.

    As another option, you could try contacting the local child protective services office in Houston directly. However, if you are able to arrange for a consultation with a local family law attorney, it would likely be very helpful in understanding your options/rights and how best to approach the local child protective services office.

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  • Want to get grandparents custody of 2 girls living in texas

    These 2 girls are now in foster care in Texas, we want to have custoday of them and bring them back to Minnesota, How and where do we start

    Valerie’s Answer

    Based upon the information that you provided, the Texas courts would have jurisdiction to determine custody and placement of the children. A family law attorney in Texas should be able to advise you on how to proceed to pursue custody of the children under Texas law.

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  • Child Support and emotional distress

    Can i file for financial support while pending imigration status?I am married to a US citizen and need to seperate from him because he has been unfaithful. Can i sue him and the mistress for emotional distress,i am actually getting therapy for al...

    Valerie’s Answer

    Your question is complex and involves both family law and immigration issues. If you are contemplating filing for divorce or legal separation, you may seek financial assistance through the court in the form of child support and/or spousal maintenance (alimony). In a divorce or legal separation proceeding, the court would also have the ability to assign responsibility for debt service and to award marital assets. The amount of financial assistance that you may receive will depend upon your financial circumstances and the financial circumstances of your spouse.

    However, before making a decision on whether to proceed with a divorce or legal separation, you should complete a consultation with an immigration attorney to understand how filing for divorce or legal separation may impact your status in the United States.

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  • How do I go about trying to get sole physical custody, when we currently share custody 50 50? This is in th estate of MN.

    My ex-husband is currently not abiding by our parenting schedule and keeping our two kids until he wants to on my nights. As you know the police will do nothing to get involved as it is a civil matter. I don't know what else I can do legally to ...

    Valerie’s Answer

    In determining the best approach to address noncompliance with a parenting time schedule, a first step should be to check your decree to see whether it provides for a method of dispute resolution. Dispute resolution is often required before a party can seek relief from the court. Mediation or another form of dispute resolution can often be a cost-effective and less stressful alternative to filing a motion in court.

    A mediated agreement to address the noncompliance issue may include provisions with more detail regarding return times, provisions which specify consequences for noncompliance such as compensatory time or sanctions, or may provide for an alteration of the transportation agreement so that you pick up at the end of his parenting time (he would then pick up at the end of your time to share the obligation) to minimize his ability to hold the children past his time. The mediated agreement would be enforceable if it was reduced to a court order. Of course, if your ex-husband refuses to participate in dispute resolution or if he continues to be noncompliant, filing a motion in district court may be your next best option.

    You can file a motion in district court to seek relief for your ex-husband's noncompliance and to seek modifications to your existing parenting time order to address future concerns. Minnesota Statute §518.175, Subd 6, provides for remedies in cases where one parent interferes with another parent's parenting time including ordering compensatory time, imposing a civil penalty of up to $500, awarding attorney's fees and costs, and other related relief. In addition, you can file a motion to have your husband held in contempt of court. In extreme cases, interference with parenting time may be a basis to modify custody.

    Whether you are able to resolve the noncompliance issue out-of-court or by filing an motion, the appointment of Parenting Time Expeditor (PTE), which can be obtained by agreement or by requesting the appointment through a motion, may be a good long term solution to address recurring noncompliance issues. Minnesota Statute §518.1751 allows the court to appoint an PTE who would have the authority to resolve parenting time disputes including an issue relating to one parent denying or interfering with parenting time. With a PTE, you could have noncompliance issues addressed immediately and in a cost-effective manner.

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