The Process for divorce in Minnesota consists of five basic steps. The specifics of each case vary based on the individual circumstances involved.
Summons and Petition
To start a divorce in Minnesota, a summons and petition are filed. A family law attorney may draw up these documents on behalf of his or her client. This petition sets out the client’s wish to be divorced and asks the court for certain relief, such as child custody or spousal support. The petitioner may ask that the couple’s property is divided in a certain way. The summons is the document that informs the other person that there is a court date and that an answer must be filed within 30 days to avoid a default judgment.
In Minnesota, the party receiving the summons and petition usually only has 30 days to file an answer to the petition. This is why it is important not to delay contacting a family law attorney. This answer responds to the petition, line by line. Additionally, the respondent may file other paperwork, such as a counter-petition in which he or she sets out a separate argument for divorce and requests the relief that he or she wants from the court.
Request for Hearing
The next step in the process is to request a hearing. If the other party did not respond to the petition, the petitioner will ask for a hearing to present an argument for default judgment. If the parties are settling their case because they have reached an agreement regarding questions related to their divorces such as property division and child custody, they will request a hearing in front of the judge to get their agreement approved. If the parties plan to contest the divorce or the relief sought, they may ask for a temporary relief hearing.
The parties attend the scheduled hearing. If there is a default hearing or a hearing based on the parties’ settlement, one of the spouses through his or her family law attorney presents the necessary paperwork to show the default or the property settlement agreement. If the case is contested, there will be a trial in which both parties present evidence to the court and call witnesses to testify about information relevant to the court’s decision.
Judgment and Decree
The final step in the process is for the court to enter a judgment and decree. This is the court’s order in the matter and is enforceable.