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Minnesota Law Blog

Tips for a successful stepparent adoption

Adopting a stepchild is an incredibly meaningful step in life. Stepparent adoption is one of the most common types of adoption in Minnesota, and for good reason. By adopting a stepchild, you can:

  • Formalize the parent-child relationship you may already have
  • Gain legal parenting rights (and responsibilities)
  • Give your child inheritance rights
  • Strengthen your family unit

Despite the joyful nature of this milestone, the adoption process itself can be stressful - especially if unforeseen complications arise. Follow these tips to help make the adoption a success.

5 warning signs that your driving endangers others

When it comes down to it, most people think they're good drivers. But are they, really? With the countless hours the average commuter spends behind the wheel, it's easy for bad habits to slowly sink in. These habits can become so second-nature that we're no longer aware of them. And, unfortunately, they're often contributing factors in devastating accidents.

So how do you objectively evaluate your own driving? Here are some warning signs that you may need to break some bad habits:

Choosing a daycare: How to keep your child safe

Choosing a daycare is one of the most difficult decisions parents face. It's where your child will spend 40 or more hours per week. It's where they'll learn, grow and interact with others during some of their most formative years.

A daycare situation that seems promising initially can quickly turn into a nightmare. Despite intensive regulations governing both daycare centers and in-home providers, neglect and abuse still occur with frightening regularity.

Alarming report shows how shortfalls in hospital staffing put patients' lives at risk

Nurses play an indispensable role in our health care system. They provide round-the-clock care for patients with fragile (and often life-threatening) health conditions. They administer medications, change dressings, insert catheters and IVs, lift and transfer patients, keep meticulous records and much more. Nurses serve as tireless advocates for their patients, and they're a vital link in keeping paths of communication clear.

It's no surprise, then, that when hospitals don't have enough nurses, patients pay the price. Numerous studies have shown that nursing shortages correlate with higher rates of patient harm - including death. Understaffing jeopardizes patients' quality of care and increases the risk of serious medical errors.

The dangers of food poisoning - and how to avoid it

We've all experienced it at least once in our lives: That sudden onset of queasiness that quickly escalates into a full-fledged gastro-intestinal apocalypse. Fortunately, for most, food poisoning runs its course in about 24 hours with no lasting effects.

For some, however, it can be much worse than a day or two of misery. Food poisoning can lead to life-threatening complications - including dehydration, kidney failure and widespread organ failure in those with vulnerable immune systems. Those most at risk include:

4 common questions about divorce in Minnesota

Divorce can be a difficult and stressful process, even in amicable situations. Navigating the maze of legal issues is confusing for many separating couples. To make matters more complicated, there few hard-and-fast rules and rarely any black-or-white answers. Instead, the outcome of important matters such as property division, alimony and child custody hinges on the unique circumstances of your family.

It's still helpful to learn about the general legal framework of divorce in Minnesota. Below you will find general guidance on some of the most common questions divorcing couples face. However, as with any legal issue, make sure you consult with a lawyer about the specifics of your situation.

Most common medical mistakes in Minnesota

Medical errors are a leading cause of death among patients nationwide. These untimely deaths are all the more tragic because they're wholly preventable. Even when mistakes don't result in death, they can still lead to serious complications, unnecessary risks, misguided treatments and skyrocketing medical bills.

In Minnesota alone, there were 336 reported incidents of medical errors in hospitals and surgical centers last year - up nearly 10 percent from 2015. However, the number of deaths from medical errors slightly decreased.

Tips to Help Your Child Get Through a Divorce

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By Barbara Nevin 

Having been a family law attorney for over 35 years, I am often asked what co-parents can do to make a divorce easier for children. Most parents love their children and want what is best for them. Some cooperation from both parents may often help their children to adjust to their new situation. Children thrive when their parents are cooperative. Here are a few tips that I have learned over the years.

3 things you should know about child custody in Minnesota

There's no way around it: Child custody cases are stressful. The big unknowns that lie ahead can cause you countless sleepless nights. While life will never look the same as it once does, you can have hope for a more settled future once you get through this difficult transition time.

One way to calm your worries is to clear up common myths about custody - and to have a more realistic understanding of what to expect. Here are three things you should about the custody process.

Are you in debt after the holidays?

By Barbara Nevin

A case, from the Ghosts of Christmas Holidays Past, may be helpful!

It was Christmas in 1993. Bill Clinton was president, and Beanie Babies were introduced to the public. During that year Sears Roebuck and Company decided to be "Scrooge Like" and took "exception" to the discharge of collector Barbie Dolls a mother paid for on her Sears's credit card. She also purchased Barbie and Ken clothes, Barbie's case, and Barbie's armoire. This unfortunate purchase happened next door to us, in the State of Wisconsin, in the case of Sears, Roebuck and Company, v. Bruce A. Johannsen and Terri L. Johannsen, Bankruptcy case number, 92-13915-7, Adv. Case No. A93-1039-7. The total of all of their toy purchases by the Johanssens amounted to $1110.71.

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