Rochester Law Blog

End of DST makes for more drowsy drivers, says AAA

Drowsy driving factors in a yearly average of 328,000 car crashes in Minnesota and across the U.S. It contributes to some 50,000 debilitating injuries and 6,400 fatalities every year according to the National Sleep Foundation. Most drivers know the danger of being drowsy behind the wheel, but many seem to do nothing about it. In AAA's 2018 Traffic Safety Culture Index, nearly a third of drivers said they drove drowsy once in the previous 30 days.

This becomes a problem particularly during the switch from daylight saving time to standard time. Though everyone gets an extra hour of sleep, the body still has to adjust to the disruption that was made to its internal clock, and this causes drowsiness. Some even stay up late before the end of DST, adding to the drowsy feeling.

Fear of crime increases despite falling statistics

Many people in Minnesota have a great fear of crime, something that has led to public support for harsh policies in the criminal justice system. Many of these policies have since inspired opposition, especially for how they disproportionately affect people of color and those living in poverty. However, the fear of criminal behavior itself, while somewhat logical, is not always supported by the facts about crime in the U.S. today. While people are often more aware of violent crimes due to nationwide, instant news coverage and global social media, violent crime has actually dropped dramatically in the past 25 years.

After a high point in the crime rate in the early 1990s, violent crime has dropped substantially. FBI statistics show a 51% decrease in violent incidents since 1993, and statistics from the Bureau of Justice Statistics show an even greater drop of 73%. There were some upticks between 2004 and 2006 and 2014 and 2016, but they were largely offset by the overall declining trend. While violent crime has dropped significantly, even property crimes like car theft and burglary have dropped by 54% according to FBI statistics. Property crimes in general are far more common than violent crimes like armed robbery, rape or murder.

How are adult children affected by divorce?

When older Minnesota couples decide to get a divorce, it can be easy to forget to take your adult children into consideration. While some couples believe that adult children can handle divorce just fine, that isn't always the case. In fact, they may take it even worse than younger children.

Mic discusses things that no one tells you about being an adult child of a divorcing couple. For example, many adult children find themselves in a difficult situation in which parents believe them old enough to "rely on", and thus lean on them for emotional support during the split. They may unload personal information or emotional vents that a child of any age, adult or not, may simply not be ready to shoulder.

Debt, credit cards and your divorce

It is not uncommon for married residents in Minnesota to have shared debt. This may include a mortgage, car loans, credit cards or even personal loans all taken out in both spouses' names. A lot of discussion occurs around a property division agreement in a divorce, but people must remember that it is the couple's debts as well as the couple's assets that must be split. In some situations, there may be disagreement about what debt is truly joint or who should pay what portion of a debt.

As explained by SoFi, one important factor can be the official date of separation. It can be helpful to have this clearly identified as it may be determined that any debt incurred after this date is the sole debt of the spouse who made the charge or accepted the debt.

Are you convinced the results were wrong on your breath test?

Do you think it is possible that, without ever having a drop of alcoholic beverage, you could still face drunk driving charges if a Minnesota police officer pulls you over and arrests you after you fail a breath screening? If you answered "Yes," you are correct. The reason it's possible is that there are many substances that cause preliminary alcohol breath screening devices to register positive results even if, in fact, you did not consume alcohol before driving.

It's easy to understand how stressful this situation would be. Can you imagine knowing you didn't drink alcohol while the officer is telling you the breath test you just took suggests otherwise? You don't want to argue with a police officer because that will just make matters worse. You also definitely do not want to go to jail for something you didn't do. That's why it pays to know ahead of time what types of substances can taint the results of a roadside breath test.

What do I need to know financially before a divorce?

If you are a married person in Minnesota and have given thought to a divorce or believe that your spouse may be contemplating a divorce, it is important that you protect yourself financially. The emotional realities of a divorce will require a lot of attention from you but that should not happen at the expense of you giving attention to financial matters. The more educated you can be about your financial situation today, the better prepared you will be when it comes time to work out a divorce settlement with your spouse.

To get started on this process, you should make a list of all assets and debts that you and your spouse have. Think carefully and include everything down to life insurance policies, long-term care insurance policies, vehicle ownership or loans, student loans and more.

How can I establish a new school routine when I share custody?

The start of a new school year can be challenging for children and parents alike. If your children regularly split time with you and your ex-spouse, starting new routines can be especially difficult. You and other Minnesota residents may have questions on maintaining consistency and striking an acceptable balance when you share custody.

It can be stressful for children when their parents have different routines, explains HelpGuide. This does not mean that you and your ex should rigidly stick to the same schedule. It may not even be possible to parent exactly the same. However, if you strive to maintain structure when the children are with you, they stand a better chance of adjusting to their school schedules and transitioning more easily between visitations. The following tips may help:

  • Communicate your expectations to your children at the start of the school year.
  • Keep your routine the same, even if your ex’s parenting style is significantly different from yours.
  • Accept that you and your ex may not always be on the same page.
  • Attempt to communicate and be respectful toward your ex, even if it is difficult to get along.
  • Watch for signs of your children struggling to adjust, such as doing poorly in school, acting aggressively or regressing in behaviors.

Your home, mortage and divorce

It is not at all uncommon for one spouse to work hard to keep a family home after a divorce. If you and your spouse are getting divorced in Minnesota and your partner has indicated a desire to retain the house, there are some very important points you will want to understand so that you can protect yourself financially. If you fail to take the proper steps, you could find your credit suffering based on the actions of your former spouse.

You might think that stipulating financial responsibility for your existing mortgage in a divorce decree is all that you need in order to eliminate your liability for the debt. As explained by Bankrate, however, that is not the case. A bank is not concerned with the terms of your divorce. They are focused solely on the names of the people identified as the responsible parties on the loan documentation.

Divorce may be a contributor to poverty

It should be no surprise to most people in Minnesota that getting divorced can hurt a person's finances. The sheer act of having to split assets reduces a person's wealth. In addition, the cost of living for a single person is greater than the cost of living for a couple in one household, a fact that contributes to the popularity of having roommates at certain stages of life. Now there is some research coming out of Bowling Green State University that puts some hard numbers to just how serious the financial problems due to a divorce can really become.

Researchers have found that people who were divorced but who never got married again had significantly higher rates of poverty by the time they were 63 or older than their married counterparts. Those counterparts included people who had been divorced but who later got married again as well as people who got married once and stayed married. The group who is the most negatively impacted by a divorce is women whose marriages ended after they were 50 years old.

The reasons behind many Minnesota car accidents

A car accident can change your life in an instant. When other drivers act negligently or recklessly, often, innocent people pay the price. If you are the victim of the actions of other drivers, you may be wondering what you should do to pick up the pieces and start to rebuild your life.

One of the most helpful steps may be to find out what factors played a role in the accident that left you injured. Identifying the cause of your accident can help you understand what legal options may be available to you and how you can move forward with the appropriate course of action. An evaluation of your case can help identify what happened and what you should do next.

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