Ending your marriage in Minnesota involves taking certain legal steps. It is important to ensure that you follow these steps correctly so you can move through your divorce as quickly as possible and begin to move on with your life. An experienced divorce attorney can help guide you through the process and protect your legal rights as you end your marriage.
How Does the Divorce Process in Minnesota Work?
The divorce process begins by one spouse filing papers with the local court in the area where at least one spouse lives. The clerk of court can help to explain what papers you need to file, but it is advisable to have an attorney help you to complete the paperwork correctly in order to ensure that the divorce moves as quickly as possible.
When the divorce papers are filed, the spouse completing the papers will need to include grounds for divorce. Today, essentially all divorces occur on no fault grounds, which means people simply divorce as a result of irreconcilable differences. While traditionally divorce required proving fault, such as proving that one spouse committed adultery, this is not the case any more and a no fault divorce is a much simpler solution.
After the divorce paperwork has been filed, the other spouse who did not file the papers will receive a summons and service of process. This means the divorce papers will be officially delivered to him or her. The receiving spouse will need to answer the papers and come to court as required or the filing spouse could get a default judgment.
The next step in the process involves working out issues related to child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of marital assets. This is often the most difficult and contentious part of every divorce. The process begins with each spouse making financial disclosures and then a divorce agreement must be reached.
Ideally, you and your spouse should negotiate on your own outside of court in order to reach a divorce agreement. You can do this with the help of your attorneys and, if you need additional assistance, by employing a professional mediator who can guide you through negotiating a settlement. Creating your divorce settlement agreement out of court is much less expensive than litigating all of the issues in your divorce and it is also much less stressful and contentious, which is important both for you and your spouse but also for your children.
If you are able to agree on the issues and your attorney drafts a settlement agreement for you, you can go to court and the judge will give the agreement legal effect and dissolve your marriage. If you are not able to agree on the issues, then you will need to litigate them in front of a judge. After listening to evidence from both you and your spouse, the judge will decide on the asset division, support and custody issues. The agreement will become binding and the judge will dissolve the marriage.