Protected: How can some Minnesota Family Courts help families to separate

In my perfect world, ‘other lawyers’ and judges would be required to receive intensive training and ongoing continuing education in the mental health behavior patterns which drive most high-conflict divorce cases.   Many of the high-conflict cases I have handled have involved, on one level or another, personality disorders and/or substance abuse.  And, if one party in a family case suffers from one of these, the family system itself does. With change comes pain, and even in fairly functional families, one or both parents find that the goal of moving the children from an intact to a separated family as softly as possible cannot be met without help.  However, this is especially difficult when personality disorders or substance abuse is involved. Often these cases include domestic violence, verbal abuse, alienation, and even false allegations of child abuse.  Parties are wrapped up in their own hurt and anger and each feels the other is more at fault.  It is often not possible for people in such pain to see that their family as a system continues, albeit in a different form.   The nuclear family, as a closed system, is being changed, not eliminated. This concept can be difficult for any families, and families in the process of separating are no longer an intact family and can no longer be viewed as a closed system.    The family unit, formerly a tight, closed system where secrets and pains are kept silent, becomes a bright star at the center of a much larger solar system.  The bright and shiny private pains act like gravity, and can pull unwary attorneys, evaluators, teachers, relatives, and judges...

Family Mediation and Confidentiality in Minnesota

Mediators and other Rule 114 professionals often note that ‘everything said’ in a mediation or ENE session is confidential unless agreed to in writing.  This is especially important for Minnesota Family Law attorneys.  They generally encourage their clients to be honest and to propose and consider creative solutions to resolve their cases.  These offers of compromise are subject to confidentiality provisions of Rule 408 but there are pitfalls and issues to consider. While Rule 408 of the Minnesota Rules of Evidence, regarding Compromise and Offers of Compromise, states : Evidence of (1) furnishing or offering or promising to furnish, or (2) accepting or offering or promising to accept, a valuable consideration in compromising or attempting to compromise a claim which was disputed as to either validity or amount, is not admissible to prove liability for or invalidity of the claim or its amount.  Evidence of conduct or statements made in compromise negotiations is likewise not admissible.  This rule does not require the exclusion of any evidence otherwise discoverable merely because it is presented in the course of compromise negotiations.  This rule also does not require exclusion when the evidence is offered for another purpose, such as proving bias or prejudice of a witness, negativing a contention of undue delay, or proving an effort to obstruct a criminal investigation or prosecution. The Minnesota Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision, (see //www.lawlibrary.state.mn.us/archive/cau12dkt.html, opinion A12-390) has noted that Rule 408 has previously been narrowly construed so as to prohibit admission of evidence only when (1) the evidence pertains to a compromise on “a claim which was disputed as to either validity...
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