FAQ – Minnesota Divorce

What happens in a Minnesota divorce proceeding?

 A divorce, also called a “dissolution of marriage” by the courts, is a way of legally ending a marriage. A divorce judgment will decide:

The date your marriage ends;
Who gets custody of the children and when the other parent sees them;
Who pays child support and how much;
Who will pay health insurance for the children;
Who should pay past bills;
How property (including retirement benefits and a home) will be divided; and
Whether one spouse will pay spousal support (alimony) to the other.

Do I need a legal reason to get a divorce?

No, Minnesota has “no fault” divorce. The only reason you need is that you and your spouse cannot get along, and you see no way of settling your problems. The law calls this an “irretrievable breakdown in the marriage relationship.”

What if I just moved to Minnesota?

In almost all cases, either you or your spouse must have lived in Minnesota for six months (180 days) before filing for divorce. In addition, the divorce must be filed in a county in which one of you lives.

Will I need a lawyer to get a divorce?

If the divorce is uncontested — that is, if you and your spouse agree about all the terms of the divorce — you may be able to complete much of the divorce paperwork yourself, but you probably will still want advice from a lawyer. If the divorce is contested, you will almost certainly need a lawyer.

Minnesota law creates a “short form” summary dissolution proceeding for people with very simple divorce cases. If you meet all the requirements for a summary dissolution, you can get the forms at the county courthouse. You can probably do this type of divorce paperwork yourself, but you may want to have a lawyer look it over.

Self-help forms for more complicated divorces may also be available. Minnesota now has specific family court documents to help you in this process and can be found online at www.mncourts.gov

What do I need to do to start a divorce?

If you or your spouse has lived in Minnesota for six months or longer, you need to do three things to start your divorce:

You must have the petition and any other required documents officially delivered to (“served on”) your spouse. This lets your spouse know that a divorce action has been started and what you are asking for.
You must file some documents, including the petition for dissolution of marriage, with the district court office at the local county courthouse. The petition tells the court and your spouse what you are asking for in the divorce.
You must pay or be excused from paying the fees that are charged for filing a divorce petition. There might also be costs for having your spouse served.

How do I serve the divorce papers?

If a lawyer is handling your divorce, he or she will have the divorce papers served on your spouse. If you are using “do-it-yourself” forms, the instructions will tell you what you need to do. Your spouse can agree to sign papers that say he or she has been served. Otherwise, your spouse must be served by either the sheriff or another adult (not you or your children).

What if I am served with divorce papers?

If you agree with all the terms of the divorce as listed in the petition, you do not need to respond. If you want to challenge the terms listed in the petition, you must file a written answer —called an “answer” — with the court within 30 days after you were handed the papers. Contact a lawyer, your local legal services office to learn about what you can do.

How much does a divorce cost?

Court costs and filing fees vary. The district court office at your local courthouse can tell you the costs and fees in your county. The more complex the divorce is, the more it will cost. The more issues you and your spouse disagree about, the more work your lawyer will have and the more expenses you will have.

If your spouse’s income is much higher than yours, the judge may order your spouse to pay your lawyer.

How long does it take to get a divorce?

The length of time it will take you to get a divorce depends mostly on the complexity of your case. If you are filing for temporary orders, such as custody and child support, or if you and your spouse dispute the issues in the divorce, you may need to have court hearings. Court timelines can affect how long it takes to get the final divorce judgment.

Can I take back my former name?

Yes. The judge may give you back a former name if you ask for it in a divorce.

What is mediation?

Mediation is one or more private counseling sessions in which a trained person tries to help you and your spouse reach an agreement. The judge might order both of you to go to mediation in an attempt to agree on divorce issues such as child custody, support, parenting time and property division. If this process is not appropriate for you because of safety or other concerns, you may ask that the requirement be waived.

What is a legal separation?

A legal separation is a court order that states who gets the children, who pays support for the children, whether spousal support is ordered, and who gets what property. You might want a legal separation if your religious beliefs prohibit divorce, if you or your spouse have not lived in Minnesota long enough to file for divorce, or if one of you needs to be covered by the other’s medical insurance.

Chris Sullivan is the owner of the Sullivan Law Office, PLLC in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has helped dozens of clients with their divorce, child custody, and child support issues throughout the Minneapolis metro area. For more information, contact the Minnesota Divorce Laywer here, or at 612.669.1426
Article Source

Comments are closed.