PROFESSOR STEPHEN SIMON: University of Minnesota Law Professor Steve Simon is one of Minnesota judiciary’s most iconic figures. Virtually every Minnesota district court judge has at some point in their judicial career graduated from Professor Simon’s Judicial Trial Skills Program. Although he retired from the law school in 2012, he continues to mentor all newly appointed judges at his acclaimed Judicial Trial Skills Program. Following a long history of legal and academic achievements, one of his greatest accomplishments has been the development of a first of its kind on-line Bench Book titled, “Trial Procedures and Practices for Judges.”
The purpose for this training update is to introduce you to this amazing new On-Line Bench Book and encourage you to explore its many features. The Bench Book can be accessed via the JUDGES’ JURY TRIAL BENCH BOOK TAB (see top of this page).
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Name Change v. Gender Change: Presiding over a name change petition for an adult is a common occurrence for most judges. As long as certain legal and procedural requirements are met, approving the petition is usually simple and straightforward. This is true whether petitioner is male, female or transgender. A petition filed by a transgender person, seeking only a name change, is no different from a petition filed by any other adult male or female.
However, in some cases, a petition filed by a transgender person may ask the court for an order changing the gender designation on the birth certificate. Amending the birth certificate to accurately reflect the gender with which the individual identifies, may be an extremely important step for a transgender person.
This Training Update will explain when and under what authority the District Court can grant such a request (and will also discuss one additional option available to the petitioner).
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KARON WAIVERS: The vast majority of divorces are resolved by agreement of the parties. With regard to spousal maintenance, many agreements include what are commonly referred to as “Karon waivers.” Karon waivers are prepared by the attorneys and approved by the court. On close examination, however, many “Karon waivers” do NOT contain crucial language required by both statute and case-law. In other words, a large number of “Karon waivers” presented to the court for approval are defective and legally unenforceable. This is a potential problem that is easily avoidable. Gossman v. Gossman, 847 N.W.2d 718 (Minn.App.2014).
This update explains what “Karon waivers” are and will discuss the #1 rule that judges, attorneys and divorcing parties should know in order to ensure that “Karon waivers” are valid and enforceable.
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