On March 12, 2013, Neil Franz, an Attorney with Neils, Franz, Chirhart, Hultgren & Evenson, P.A. was re-elected to the Farming Township Board of Supervisors. Mr. Franz was first elected in 2010, and as a result of his re-election he will serve an additional three-year term. Farming Township is located in central Stearns County and is home to approximately 1,000 residents. Mr. Franz practices in the areas of business law, real estate, estate planning, and litigation.
Holidays, Parenting Time, and Minor Children: How to Avoid Unnecessary Co-Parenting Stress Over the Holidays
Many families with separated/divorced parents or with parents who have never been married encounter extra stress over the holidays when they attempt to coordinate a holiday schedule that will allow both parents the opportunity to spend time with their children over the holidays. One of the best ways to avoid this unnecessary holiday stress is to make sure that your divorce decree, stipulation, or court order specifically addresses holiday parenting time and specifies the dates and times each parent is awarded holiday parenting time with the children. Without the necessary specificity, what will you do if you and your former significant other do not agree on the holiday parenting time schedule? Vague terms in a decree, stipulation, or court order like “Friday evening” or “weekend parenting time” can often be interrupted differently and you and your former significant other may not agree on when the parenting time begins or ends. Vague provisions can cause unnecessary headaches for the parties involved and can easily be avoided. Contact one of the Family Law Attorneys at Neils, Franz, Chirhart if you have additional holiday parenting time questions or need help enforcing your rights for holiday parenting time.
Here are some more tips for co-parenting during the holidays:
1. If your divorce decree, stipulation, or court order does not specifically state your holiday parenting time, discuss the holiday parenting schedule with your former significant other well in advance of the holiday season. These issues can often be remedied as long as they are addressed prior to the holiday season.
2. Be reasonable. Many parents rotate or alternate holidays. If you spent last Christmas with the children, it is reasonable to assume your former significant other will want time with the children this year.
3. Keep the children’s best interest at heart. Children do not like to spend their entire holiday vacations in the car or being ping-ponged between their parents. Set a schedule that is reasonable and allows the children to avoid the holiday season, too.
4. Children should not be involved in discussions about holiday parenting time disputes. Any discussions between you and your former significant other should be confined to the two of you. Do not involve the children in any discussions or permit them to decide where they want to spend the holidays. This only puts the children in the middle and makes them feel forced to choose between parents.
5. If your divorce decree, stipulation, or court order (or if you don’t have any!) does not specifically state the parents’ holiday parenting time schedule, contact a Family Law Attorney at Neils, Franz, Chirhart to assist you in creating a holiday schedule that meets your family’s needs and prevents further stress during the holiday season. Our Attorneys can help draft a holiday parenting time schedule that it is reasonable, clear, and legally enforceable.
Happy Holidays from Neils, Franz, Chirhart, P.A.
NFC Attorney Roger Neils prevailed in an appeal from a denial of a conditional use permit (CUP) for an Extractive Use – Gravel Pit by the Cass County Planning Commission and Board of Adjustment (Board). The Central MN company, Tri-City Paving of Little Falls, which is engaged primarily in the business of road construction contracting, had applied for renewal of an existing conditional use permit and issuance of a new permit to allow continued operation and expansion of a gravel pit they had been using for over 20 years. After a number of hearings, which included development and consideration of an Environmental Assessment Worksheet, creation by the County’s Zoning Administrator and staff of proposed findings approving the application and development of 33 conditions to be imposed on the operation during public hearings—all of which were agreed to by the applicant—the BOA/PAC denied the conditional use permit! Attorney Neils, on behalf of Tri-City Paving, argued through written briefs and oral arguments to the Minnesota Court of Appeals that the denial was arbitrary, capricious and unreasonable because the reasons for denial: (1) were merely conclusory and did not satisfy the requirements of Minnesota Statutes §15.99, subd. 2(b) or the County’s own Zoning and Land Use Ordinance; (2) were legally insufficient and (3) lacked a factual basis on the record. The Appellate panel agreed with Attorney Neils on every issue and stated that because Tri-City agreed that it would satisfy the criteria laid out in the Ordinance, and because the Board’s reasons for denial were conclusory and unsupported by the record, the Board acted arbitrarily by denying the conditional use permit. Accordingly, the Appellate Court reversed the decision of the Board.
NFC attorney, Julie Fisk, was recognized as a 2012 Minnesota Rising Star attorney by Super Lawyers. The Rising Star distinction is bestowed on no more than 2.5% of the attorneys aged 40 and under in the state of Minnesota. Super Lawyers selects attorneys through peer nominations and evaluations combined with third party research. Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement. According to the Super Lawyers website, the “objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys that can be used as a resource for attorneys and consumers searching for legal counsel.” Congratulations, Julie!
The Minnesota unemployment statutes are designed to provide assistance for those who become involuntarily unemployed through no fault of their own. If an employee quits his or her employment, generally speaking he or she is not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. However, there are a few exceptions under the statute. An employee may be eligible for unemployment even if the employee quit the employment if the employee can demonstrate that he or she quit for good reason. The “good reason” must be (1) directly related to the employment and for which the employer is responsible; and (2) the reason for quitting the employment must be significant and would compel an average, reasonable worker to quit and choose to be unemployed rather than remaining in their position.
An employee may also be eligible for unemployment even if the employee voluntarily ended their employment if he or she can demonstrate they quit the employment due to their own serious illness or injury or that it was medically necessary for the employee to quit employment to provide necessary care because of the illness, injury, or disability of an immediate family member of the employee. Whether to care for oneself or an immediate family member, the employee must have previously informed the employer of the medical issues, the employee must have requested an accommodation, and the employer must have refused to provide a reasonable accommodation.
There are several other exceptions, often less relied upon, under the statute that if proven, may permit an employee who voluntarily quits his or her employment to receive unemployment benefits. If you have questions about the unemployment process or appeal process, contact Neils, Franz, Chirhart at (320) 253-7130.
In a recent ruling by the Minnesota Court of Appeals, an employee, who had been encouraged to quit her employment, form her own company, and work for her former employer as an independent contractor, was eligible for unemployment benefits from her employer. The Court found that because the employer encouraged the employee to form her own limited-liability corporation (LLC) and did not inform her of the negative consequences of giving up her employment status, the employer was liable for unemployment benefits to the employee. The Court’s ruling is significant because it imposes a duty on the employer to inform the employee of possible disadvantages of forming her own LLC, that is, losing her status as an “employee”, uncertainty in obtaining work, and loss of eligibility to receive unemployment benefits.
Distinguishing between an employee and independent contractor can be difficult. If you have questions about your employment status or the status of your employees, contact an Attorney at Neils, Franz, Chirhart for more information.
Prior to last week, deciding whether (and how much) to award for attorneys’ fees in a lawsuit was determined by a judge, not a jury. That is no longer the case in Minnesota. The Minnesota Supreme Court in United Prairie Bank-Mountain Lake v. Haugen Nutrition & Equip., LLC held that juries will, in many cases, determine how much to award for attorneys’ fees, not the judge.
So. What does this mean for the average Minnesotan? Well, if you have signed a contract agreeing to be responsible for the other person’s attorneys’ fees (i.e. promissory notes, personal guarantees, business contracts), you may now have additional leverage to negotiate and/or litigate whether or not the other party’s legal fees are reasonable. A jury may view the reasonableness of legal fees very differently than a judge — and allowing a jury to make that determination certainly adds a new level of uncertainty to a lawsuit when the other party is trying to recover their legal expenses.
What does this mean for business owners who have relied on attorneys’ fees provision in their contracts to protect themselves? You need to immediately review and update your contract provisions with your attorney.
This blog contains general information, is not intended to be legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. Because every situation is unique and requires legal advice specific to those facts, contact us at 320-253-7130 if you have questions about how the United Prairie Bank-Mountain Lake v. Haugen Nutrition & Equip., LLC decision impacts you.
Attorney JoAnn Evenson, a Shareholder at Neils, Franz, Chirhart, Hultgren & Evenson, P.A., was recently elected President of the John E. Simonett American Inn of Court. The organization is comprised of lawyers and judges with a mission to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and legal skills. The John E. Simonett Inn includes members from a large part of Central Minnesota and is part of a national group, the American Inns of Court.
The National Labor Relation’ s Board (NLRB) issued a new rule on August 26, 2011, requiring all private-sector employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act (which excludes agricultral, railroad and airline employers) to post the Employee Rights Poster, regardless of whether their employees are currently represented by a union or not. Employers have until November 14, 2011 to comply with the new rule.
Employers may print the poster here on 11-by-17 paper or by taping two 8-by-11 papers together.
Employers with questions about whether this requirement applies to them, where to post, electronic posting and whether you are required to post for Non-English speakers, please contact us at 320-253-7130.
NFC Attorney Neil Franz was recently selected to serve on the Board of Directors for the St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce. Neil’s board position will being September 1, 2011 and run through August 31, 2014. The St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce is the premier resource for St. Cloud Area businesses and supports a healthbusiness environment for its members.
- American Inns of Court
- attorney fees
- business law
- Employee Rights Poster
- independent contractor
- John E. Simonett Inn of Court
- legal fees
- National Labor Relations Act
- National Labor Relations Board
- parenting time