CHILD SUPPORT PRESUMPTIONS
The formula employed by Minnesota courts when calculating child support changed significantly this past March. Prior to March 1, 2016, Minnesota’s child support law carried a presumption that all parents could be employed forty hours per week at pay rate equal to 150% of the state or federal minimum wage (whichever was higher).1 This calculation resulted in imputed gross income of $2,340 per month ($13.50 per hour x 40 hours per week) to unemployed or underemployed parents. On March 1, 2016, this calculation was changed so that is now presumed that all parents can be employed thirty (30) hours per week at pay rate of 100% of the state or federal minimum wage. This results in imputed monthly gross income of $1,170 per month which equates to 50% of the amount of income that could be imputed under the old law. This change is significant and may be grounds for a modification of child support in some circumstances.
2. DEVIATIONS TO CHILD SUPPORT GUIDELINES Historically, the amount of child support a Minnesota resident has been ordered to pay was based upon guidelines that take into account the parents’ incomes and the amount of parenting time that each parent has with the child/children in question. Parents can, however, request that the Court deviate from these guidelines when extenuating circumstances such as those set forth in Minn. Stat. §518A.43 exist. For example, a Court can deviate from the child support guidelines if it finds that the needs of the child at issue require extraordinary financial, physical and/or educational resources. Additionally, the Court can now deviate from the same guidelines and order that a parent pay no basic child support in when it finds that there is a significant income disparity exists between the parents thereby rendering an order for basic support would be detrimental to the child at issue. As a result of these changes, many parents may now be overpaying or underpaying child support.
TRUST LAW CHANGES Minnesota’s trust law has been reorganized and updated so that it conforms more closely with the Uniform Trust Code and the laws of other states. As a result, trustees and beneficiaries will have greater flexibility through new or revised procedures like decanting, non-judicial settlement agreements, modification of trusts to correct mistakes and achieve tax objectives, the ability to create directed trusts and the option to create “silent” trusts (which do not need to be disclosed to the beneficiaries of the trust). In addition, the new Code acknowledges the growing trend toward using revocable trusts as substitutes for wills (aka “living trusts”) by setting for rules of construction that are consistent with this development. For example, these new rules address issues that typically arose only in contested will cases, such as clarifying (a) the mental capacity a testator is required to possess in order to make a revocable trust (same as a will), (b) the ability of the testator to incorporate a written list into the revocable trust in order to dispose of tangible personal property, and (c) the time limit for contesting the validity of a revocable trust.
In case you did not know it yet, if you want to register a vehicle with the state of Minnesota, you must show proof of insurance not just say you have the insurance. The new law, which went into effect earlier this year, is designed to rid the state of uninsured drivers by requiring anyone who owns a vehicle in the state of Minnesota to have actual insurance in place before the car is registered and plates are issued.
1. CHANGES TO THE MINNESOTA HUMAN RIGHTS ACT Effective May 23, 2016, the Minnesota Human Rights Act was amended through the addition of new provisions governing lawsuits related to claims for violations of the MHRA regarding architectural and communication barriers in public accommodations. The new law amends the statute of limitations applicable to public accommodation cases, requires attorneys to send at a minimum a statutory short form demand letter before filing a claim and provides affirmative defenses for defendants in these types of cases.
2. MINIMUM WAGE REMINDERS On August 1, 2016, the state of Minnesota’s current minimum wage requirements will be increasing. For large employers within the state (employers with at least $500,000 of annual gross revenue) will increase from $9.00 to $9.50 per hour. For small employers (employers with less than $500,000 in annual gross revenue), workers under the age of 18, and trainees under the age of 20 for the first 90 calendar days of employment, minimum wage will increase from $7.25 per hour to $7.75 per hour. Where federal and state laws have different minimum wage rates, the higher standard applies. Currently, the federal minimum wage is $7.25.
1. Effective January 1, 2018, the state’s minimum wage will be indexed for inflation, which will be capped at 2.5 percent per year.
2. Restaurants and other Minnesota employers who utilize tipped employees should be aware that Minnesota does not permit tip credits, nor does it require employers of tipped employees to pay minimum wage.
MNVEST IS COMING
On June 20, 2016, a new law governing equity crowdfunding via the Internet will go into effect in Minnesota. Under this new law called MNvest, Minnesota residents can buy securities offered by a Minnesota business so long as the securities provide the investor with the opportunity to share in the company’s profits or get a financial return on his or her investment. This law only applies to Minnesota-based businesses soliciting funds from Minnesota residents. Key provisions of MNvest include:
1. The investment must be offered by the Minnesota business only through an online MNvest internet “portal” run by a portal operator or broker-dealer registered with the Commerce Department.
2. The Minnesota business may raise up to $2 million in a 12-month period if its financial statements have been audited or reviewed by a certified public accountant or up to $1 million in a 12-month period if its financial statements have not been audited or reviewed by a certified public accountant.
3. Individuals may invest up to $10,000 in connection with a single MNvest offering. This ceiling does not apply to “accredited” investors, i.e. those investors with high incomes or net worth that qualify them as accredited under federal securities laws.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON ANY OF THE UPDATES IN THIS EDITION OF THE BULLETIN, GO TO WWW.BLACKLAWMN.COM, CALL 763.441.7040 OR STOP IN AND VISIT WITH ONE THE ELK RIVER BLACK LAW ATTORNEYS OR LEGAL ASSISTANTS.
© 2016 Black Johnson Kaufman Blustin, Ltd. This edition of the Bulletin was prepared by the lawyers at Black Johnson Kaufman Blustin, Ltd., a general practice law firm serving the Northwest suburbs, the Twin Cities and Minnesota. This newsletter was written as a purely public resource of general information that is intended, but not guaranteed, to be correct and complete. It is not intended to be a source of solicitation or legal advice. This information is not intended to create and receipt of it does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. The reader should not rely or act upon any information in this site without seeking professional legal counsel.