In addition to the endless acronyms, some of which we have provided a key for in a previous blog post, you may hear your family law attorney use other terms which leave you scratching your head. Sometimes these terms are actually names of previous court cases which have been heard by the appellate courts and changed the law in a particular area.
For instance, in a case involving spousal maintenance, your attorney may mention a “Karon waiver.” This means that, based on a 1989 case that went to the Minnesota Supreme Court, i.e. Karon v. Karon, language can be put into your divorce decree which divests the court of jurisdiction to ever address the issue of spousal maintenance again. Therefore, if you agree that there will be no spousal maintenance and you also have a Karon waiver, then neither spouse can ever come back to the court and ask for spousal maintenance in the future. Likewise, if you agree to spousal maintenance of $500 per month for 5 years, then neither spouse can ask for the time period to be lengthened or shortened or for the amount to be raised or lowered. You get what you agreed to and that’s it. Period.
In a case involving a request to modify child custody, your attorney may discuss the “Nice-Petersen standard.” This standard was established in a 1981 case, Nice-Petersen v. Nice-Petersen, that went to the Minnesota Supreme Court and determined the threshold for obtaining an evidentiary hearing in a child custody modification proceeding is that the moving party must present sufficient evidence in affidavits, which the court must presume are true, to show that endangerment of the child has occurred. If the moving party meets this standard, they are entitled to an evidentiary hearing, or trial, on the issue.
Our family law attorneys are well-informed on the current status of the key precedential cases in all areas of family law and will be able to advise you accordingly as to how they may apply to the particular facts in your case. Please contact our firm today .