Do I need a lawyer? Red Wing Legal

Minnesota Courts make available many of the forms needed for family court, such as for divorce, custody, and child support.  Keep in mind though, the court will not give you legal advice.  You may reach an agreement with the other party that may end up being unenforceable, or is missing key provisions.

You may not need a lawyer from start to finish, but you should have a lawyer review your documents and offer advice on how to present your case to the court.

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The Child Cases | Frontline – PBS

The Child Cases

Sudden child deaths are often assumed to be murder and caregivers are frequently the accused. FRONTLINE, ProPublica and NPR investigate, uncovering evidence of questionable convictions…

Read more:

The Child Cases – Video | FRONTLINE | PBS.

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MinnPost – Just why should we care about legal services for the poor?

MinnPost Logo
“What is fundamentally required is an acknowledgment of the principle that Robert Kennedy spoke of. We need to ensure that the poor of this country have the kind of access to justice we would want for our children, our mothers and our fathers.”

MinnPost – Just why should we care about legal services for the poor?.

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Retrouvaille™ … a lifeline for Marriages

If you are one the verge of divorce or separation you might want to check this program out.

A program to Help Couples Heal and Renew their Marriages.

Do you feel lost, alone or bored in your marriage?

Are you frustrated, hurt or angry with your spouse?

Are you constantly fighting? Or, do you simply shut down?

Have you thought about separation or divorce?

Posted in Avoiding Divorce, Divorce, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Putting Children First

Good reminders about making parenting time decisions:

” What’s best for our children today, tomorrow and in the years to come?

” How can we minimize the physical, emotional and spiritual damage inflicted upon our children as a result of our pending divorce?

” How can we best support our children through this difficult time?

” How can we show your love and compassion for them as they move through challenges they did not ask for — or create?

” What can we do to boost their sense of security, self-esteem and well-being during the transitions ahead?

” Who can provide the least traumatic home environment for the children – and for what percent of each day, week, month and year?

” How can each of us best contribute our assets – physical, emotional and spiritual – to create harmony, good will and peace within the changed family structure?

” How will our children look back at this divorce a year, five years, ten years and more from now? Will they understand?

” How can we make life better for our children after the divorce than it was before?

via Articles by Rosalind Sedacca.

Posted in Custody, Parenting Time, Parenting Time Expeditor, Paternity, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Representing Yourself

Court Administrators provide packets of information along with forms on how to do your own divorce, modifying child support, custody and parenting time, etc  However, you will not be given legal advice.  If you and your spouse reach an agreement on your divorce you may later discover that important parts of your divorce decree are not enforceable.  Retirement Benefits, Real Estate, and Custody are areas all to often not properly addressed in a do it yourself divorce.   It is often cheaper in the long run to involve a lawyer at some level to protect your interests.

Many lawyers, including myself, are willing to provide advice to those seeking to limit their legal costs.

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Morton’s Fork – a choice between equally unpleasant alternatives.


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Flat Fees in Family Law?

Some family lawyers, including myself, are beginning to offer flat fees in family law cases.  Lawyers have long been hesitant to do so as it might encourage unnecessary bickering if the client believes they don’t have to pay for it.  However, there are benefits to the lawyer and client in having a flat (set) fee.  A flat fee can be for a bundle of services, e.g., in a divorce, the fee can be structured depending on whether the case settles, requires a motion, or a trial.

Posted in Attorney Fees, Divorce, Paternity | Leave a comment

Court Filing Fees

Once again, court filing fees increase.  These fees hit low-income families the hardest. In Goodhue County it will now cost $398 to file for divorce and $100 to file a motion to modify child support, parenting time, etc.   These fees vary slightly among counties.  The court can waive filing fees in certain cases.  Look at the link on the right for court forms, then browse the website for Fee Waiver or Informa Pauperis forms.

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City of Red Wing Spending Compared

We’ve heard for a long time that Red Wing’s spending was quite high as compared to other cities in our area.  The spending comparison linked below lays out current expenditures, public safety, and economic development, and compares Red Wing to nine other area cities.  Public safety and economic development are part of total current expenditures.  Current expenditures do not include debt service or capital outlays. I’m also including the 2009 State Auditor’s Report on Minnesota City Budgets upon which my comparisons are based.

City population is based upon 2008 census estimates. Of the cities listed, Red Wing, Albert Lea, Austin, and Winona have experienced population declines since the 2000 census.  The other cities have grown.

If Red Wing lowered its per capita spending down to Owatonna’s level, the next highest city, it would have to cut its budget by 26%, or  $4.7 million dollars.  To get down to the average per capita spending of the cities on the list we’d be looking at 39% or,  $7 million in cuts.  To get down to Farmington’s per capita spending, the lowest on the list, nearly $10 million would have to be cut, over 1/2 of our current budget.

While spending on lobbyist’s, the  incinerator, and the Port draw attention, let’s not ignore overall spending.  I recognize that each city has different issues and understanding our spending is not as simple as comparisons to others, but the comparisons can be starting point for better understanding.

You can view online or download and save. Comments appreciated.

Kent D. Laugen

Red Wing Spending Comparison

State Auditor’s Report

Minnesota Census Information

Posted in MN, Red Wing | 1 Comment

Court ruling in Duluth Retiree Health Care

Here is the link to a copy of the Court’s ruling in the Duluth case addressing the City’s ability to modify retiree health care benefits. It appears this case will be appealed, but in the meantime, consider the language you use in your collective bargaining agreements.  What impact this case will have on a district’s ability to contain OPEB liability remains to be seen.

Kent D.Laugen

Posted in GASB 45, MN, OPEB, Red Wing, Retiree Health Care, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Court Rules Duluth, MN free to change retiree health care benefits

Story and audio at Minnesota Public Radio.

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The Rural Brain Drain

From the Chronicle of Higher Education comes this disturbing article.  The hollowing out of our communities is not news for us in rural Minnesota.  The news will be what we do about it. When will school districts, cities, and counties act in concert to address this issue?

Posted in Education, MN, Red Wing | 3 Comments

Open Meeting Law Advisory Opinion Related to Email.

You may be interested in a recent opinion issued by the Commissioner of Administration on the Open Meeting Law related to emails exchanged among a quorum of members of a public body.  Here.

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Minnesota Schools Further Imperiled by Looming Deficits

Minnesota 2020 offers up analysis of projected budget deficits and impact on school funding.  Not a pretty picture.

Go here.

Kent D. Laugen

Posted in GASB 45, MN, OPEB, Retiree Health Care | Leave a comment

Prefunding OPEB: Options and Early Evidence

Prefunding Other Post Employment Benefits (OPEB) in State and Local Governments: Options and Early Evidence

This new issue brief takes a hard look at the options state and local governments are pursuing to reduce their unfunded liabilities for retiree health care.  From the Center for State & Local Government Excellence.  Read it here.

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OPEB news from Red Wing, Perham, Cannon Falls and Lake City

The Red Wing School Board scaled back bonding by 10% and approved $12.9 million of its $14.1 liability.  The article is here.

Perham bonds full amount here.

Cannon Falls decided to bond $1.0 million of its $1.97 OPEB liability.

Lake City opted not to bond any of its $2.8 million

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The Rubber Room – from the New Yorker

At least we’re not in NYC.  Any districts out there taking on tenure?

The Battle over New York City’s Worst Teachers.

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Minnesota OPEB bonding by district and per enrollment

Below are links to pdfs, one alphabetical by district, the other sorted by OPEB cost per enrollment/ADM.  Wordpress wouldn’t allow me to upload the excel file.  Email me if you’d like the report in excel format.

Kent D. Laugen

Minnesota OPEB bonding:

Red Wing Local Comparisons




Per Enrollment/ADM

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Most likely to Succeed

Malcolm Gladwell writes in the New Yorker about the difficulty in picking quarterbacks in the NFL draft and hiring the right teachers.  A timely topic. One educator I know described this article as the best he’s every read on the difficulty in hiring teachers.

As always, click on home to get back to the beginning of posts, or go to sidebar for categories.  Comments welcome.

Kent D. Laugen

How do we hire when we can’t tell who’s right for the job?

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