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Family Law

Metro Law & Meditation > Family Law

Minnesota Divorce Laws

Divorce Process

There are several different ways to initiate a divorce in Minnesota. When parties agree on the division of property, child custody, financial support and other matters, a Joint Petition for Dissolution may be the appropriate method to initiate the process with the Court.

 

When parties cannot agree, the process begins with one party initiating service of the Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage on the other party.

 

Sometimes, the location of the other party is unknown and they cannot be served by traditional means. In this instance, permission to serve by an alternate method must be granted by the Court.

 

In the absence of domestic abuse, the Court will strongly encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution methods, such as Early Neutral Evaluation or Financial Early Neutral Evaluation, with the intent of resolving issues between the parties.

 

People feel they have more control over the process when issues can be decided between the parties, rather than by the Court. In some instances, issues cannot be resolved through mediation and the case must proceed to trial.

 

During the process, temporary issues may arise that require a decision from the court during a motion hearing. The decision by the Court is usually made based upon written Affidavits and oral arguments from the attorneys. Having an attorney experienced in family law is critical to achieving a favorable outcome.

 

Understanding how Minnesota divorce law applies to your unique situation is critical.

 

Our team at Metro Law and Mediation has over 30 combined years of experience in the legal field and Minnesota family law, allowing us to help you navigate the process from beginning to end.

 

Call us today at (612) 548-4453 to schedule a Free Initial Consultation with our experienced legal team.

Division of Assets and Debts

Minnesota is a “marital property” state. The presumption is that all assets and debt acquired during the marriage are marital and subject to an equitable distribution.

 

In addition to homestead and personal property, assets can include business interests, stock options, pensions, retirement funds, and other sources of income acquired by either spouse during the marriage.

 

The Court has a duty to issue a fair and equitable settlement.

 

Each divorce is unique. Contact Metro Law and Mediation at (612) 548-4453

to speak to an experienced Family Law Attorney about your case today.

Spousal Maintenance

Minnesota law on spousal maintenance is vast, complex, and difficult for many to navigate. Often after a divorce, one party may need financial support to get back on their feet, or to secure their financial future.

 

To determine spousal maintenance, the Court looks at many factors: does one party have the need for spousal maintenance, does the other party have the ability to pay? Spousal maintenance can be awarded on a temporary or permanent basis.

 

The lawyers at Metro Law and Mediation have litigated and represented clients from amicable alimony modification agreements to complex lifetime maintenance award modifications.

 

Our firm also has a board approved Minnesota Financial Early Neutral Evaluator who can guide you with his experience of the law to attain your financial goals.

 

Contact Metro Law and Mediation at (612) 548-4453 to speak to an experienced Family Law Attorney or Financial Early Neutral Evaluator today.

Divorce questions

  1. What are the grounds for divorce in Minnesota?

Minnesota is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce. It is only necessary to show there has been “an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship”.

 

Fault of the breakdown of the marriage by one party cannot be considered by the Court when determining custody issues, division of assets and debts, or anything else. In a no-fault state, a divorce will be granted by the Court even if only one party agrees to the divorce.

 

  1. Do I need a divorce lawyer?

Even if you and your spouse agree on all the issues, it is extremely important to properly draft and submit the terms, which will become a binding Court Order. Complexities involving future child support, assets, retirement accounts, spousal maintenance, custody and parenting time issues can arise from improperly drafted agreements.

 

Our experienced Minnesota Family Law Attorneys can listen to your concerns, review your terms, and explain to you how to protect yourself with proper legal language.

 

Contact Metro Law and Mediation today at (612) 548-4453 to schedule your free consultation with one of our attorneys to discuss your matter in more detail.

 

  1. My spouse and I will soon be getting a divorce. What can I do now to protect myself financially?

Once a summons is served and filed to initiate the divorce, there is a restraining provision which restrains a spouse from unilaterally dispensing of marital assets.

 

In situations where one spouse is preparing for a divorce, it is not uncommon to see that spouse plan in advance by either creating new accounts, hiding accounts, or making withdrawals. If you are concerned your spouse is planning to file for divorce, it is best to seek the advice of an attorney to understand your rights and protect yourself immediately.

 

Contact Metro Law and Mediation at (612) 548-4453 for a free consultation to protect yourself today.

 

  1. Is Minnesota a community property state?

Minnesota is a “marital property” state. In a marital property state, marital assets are divided equitably as opposed to a community property state in which marital assets are divided equally.

 

Contact Metro Law and Mediation at (612) 548-4453 for a free consultation to protect your interests today.

 

 

  1. What is the difference between marital and non-marital property?

Marital property is most property acquired during the marriage. Non-marital property is all property which is not marital and can be identified under Minnesota Statute 518.003.

 

A few common examples include assets acquired prior to the marriage, gifts received before and during the marriage, retirement/asset growth during the marriage, personal injury/workers’ compensation settlements, and inheritances.

 

Tracing non-marital property can be complex; it is best to have an expert on your side. Contact Metro Law and Mediation at (612) 548-4453 for a free consultation to protect your property today.

 

  1. My spouse and I recently moved to Minnesota. Can we file for divorce right away?

Minnesota has a residency requirement of six months prior to filing for divorce. After six months, proceedings may be initiated.

Minnesota Divorce and Children

Custody

Establishment: Legal and physical custody of children after a divorce is included in the Order issued by the Court with the Judgment and Decree.

 

Many factors are considered including: the wishes of the child, the wishes of the parents, the history and nature of care, stability of environment, mental and physical health of all involved, and the child’s cultural background. Custody can be sole or joint, based upon the best factors determination.

 

Modification: Changes in circumstances may require modifications to existing Orders for Paternity and Parenting time. Perhaps one parent has taken a job out of state.

 

The Court will need to decide what is in the best interests of the child. As children grow older, their wishes are given more consideration by the Court.

 

Child Support:  Many factors are considered in determining child support. Costs such as basic support, medical support and child care support are used in evaluating the amount of child support for which each parent will be responsible. The income and percentage of parenting time for each parent is used in the calculation.

 

Minnesota law presumes that both parents can work and will include potential income for a parent that may not have worked previously. Child support, like custody, may be modified when factors change.

 

Issues related to divorce and children often are complicated and emotional. Call Metro Law and Mediation at 612-548-4453 for a free consultation with an experienced attorney regarding your custody issue.

Establishing Paternity and Parenting time in unmarried parents:

When unmarried parents have a child, the mother automatically has sole legal and physical custody.

 

The father must sign a Recognition of Parentage (ROP) to establish himself as the legal father of the child. Once the ROP has been filed, the father may assert his rights and begin action in Court to establish parenting time.

 

A Paternity and Parenting Time Order from the court ensures the father is allowed to spend time with the child, receives notice if the mother wants to move out of state, receives extra time with the child to make-up for time denied, and guarantees additional rights.

 

Child support can also be determined once paternity is established, either by ROP or a Paternity Order from the court when an ROP has not been signed.

 

Call Metro Law and Mediation at 612-548-4453 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys regarding your paternity issue.

Spousal Maintenance Modification

Spousal maintenance can be modified at the request of either party if a Karon waiver was not included in the original Judgement and Decree.

 

Modification may be considered by the Court when there has been a significant change in circumstance for either party. A significant change usually refers to an increase or decrease in income or expenses.

 

Changes to Minnesota spousal maintenance laws in 2016 impacted recipients that cohabitate. The change allows for modification of spousal maintenance one year after a divorce is final when the recipient begins living with a new significant other.

 

There are also other statutory reasons to modify spousal maintenance – mistake, newly discovered evidence, and fraud – to name a few.

 

As previously mentioned, spousal maintenance cannot be modified if a Karon waiver has been agreed upon. This waiver is an agreement, in writing, to waive the right to return to Court seeking modification of maintenance.

 

If you believe your spousal maintenance agreement should be modified, call Metro Law and Mediation at 612-548-4453 to schedule a free consultation with one of our attorneys.

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