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Divorce Law in Minnesota

How to Find a Minnesota Divorce Attorney

How long does divorce take in Minnesota? How much does a divorce cost? Does Minnesota require us to go to court? What is mediation? Will I have enough money to pay the bills of a separate household? How can I get what I need in the divorce? How can I keep legal fees down? Do I really need to hire a Minnesota divorce lawyer?

If you are asking these or similar questions or are looking for a Minnesota divorce attorney, this article is for you.

It will just take a few moments to review:

  • Minnesota specific divorce law requirements;
  • What you need to know about divorce; and
  • Whether it’s in your best interest to hire a Minnesota divorce lawyer and, if so, how to find a qualified lawyer and how to prepare to work with your lawyer.

Minnesota Divorce Law Specifics

  • One of the spouses must be a Minnesota resident, stationed in the state, or domiciled in the state for least 180 days before a divorce filing.
  • The divorce filings must state that there is an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship. Divorce will be granted if the spouses have lived apart for at least 12 months or it can be shown that serious marital discord has affected the attitude of at least one of the spouses.
  • Minnesota uses the terms, “petitioner” to refer to the spouse who filed the initial divorce papers and “respondent” to refer to other spouse.
  • In Minnesota, divorce papers are filed in the District Court of a particular county where either you or your spouse resides.
  • In some cases, alimony is available.
  • In Minnesota, marital property distribution will be based upon what is fair. It’s called “equitable distribution”.
  • Child support will be based upon the Percentage of Income Formula.

What You Need to Know About Divorce (to Get More of What You Want)

No matter where you file for divorce, it will help you to:

  • Meet with a therapist who is trained in helping people who go through divorce.
  • Work cooperatively and collaboratively with your spouse and his or her lawyer.
  • Avoid court interference by negotiating and working out your own marital agreement, with attorney guidance.
  • Keep your legal fees to a minimum by communicating and compromising with your spouse.

Is it in Your Best Interests to Work with a Minnesota Divorce Lawyer?

What is legal separation? Who will be granted custody? What’s a collaborative divorce? What are my legal rights? Will I have to pay alimony? How can I keep my legal fees to a minimum? Do we have to go to court? Who pays for our children’s college? What if I get remarried? Do I have to prove my spouse acted badly? How long will the divorce take? What if I change my mind?

Unless you can answer all of these questions and any additional questions you have on your mind plus have the ability to negotiate with your spouse’s attorney, you need an experienced divorce attorney.

Minnesota attorneys, who go through divorce, hire divorce attorneys to represent them.

How to Find and Select a Minnesota Divorce Attorney

Minnesota is full of attorneys. You need to narrow down the list of potential attorneys by finding those that focus their practice on divorce law and/or family law.

Try doing a Google search for “How to Find a Minnesota Divorce Attorney”. Then, determine whether those attorneys will work collaboratively with your spouse’s attorney.

It’s prudent to chat with a few potential attorneys and ask them lots of questions. Then, choose the attorney with whom you feel most comfortable.

How to Prepare to Work with Your Divorce Attorney

There are two main tasks in preparing to work with your divorce lawyer. First, get in the right frame of mind; and, second, supply all requested information in a timely manner.

  • By “right frame of mind”, we mean that it’s in your best interests to always be thinking of how to make the divorce flow smoothly.

Cooperation, collaboration, communication, and compromise are the keys to getting what you want all at the lowest amount of stress and legal fees possible.

The therapist can help you to manage all of your anger, resentment, sadness, fear, and the like so you can deal with your spouse and the divorce from a cooperative state of mind.

  • In addition, your divorce attorney will need a lot of family and financial information from you. Provide it and be just as responsive if your spouse’s attorney makes a request for information; the request will not disappear simply because you ignore it.
  • If no requests have been made, begin my making a wish list of all those items such as finances, real estate, pets, child custody that are most important to you.

Collect documentation for income, expenses, debts, and assets as well as any contracts you have between you and your spouse.

  • Always keep the frame of mind that it’s okay to ask questions to get the answers you need. Make a list of your questions and ask them during the weekly or bi-weekly telephone conference you have with your divorce lawyer.

There are no foolish questions, and no man becomes a fool until he has stopped asking questions.

~Charles Proteus Steinmetz

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