Assuming that you are clear that you want to get divorced, the process for completing a divorce in Minnesota is pretty simple. The only serious complications that arise come from conflict with your spouse or over-reliance on lawyers, or both. Many of my clients go through a simple 2-step process: First, the couple has a conversation in which they figure out their plan for the kids, for their finances, and for their assets and debts. After they’ve come up with a plan, they complete a stack of paperwork (many couples do this paperwork themselves, some hire a paralegal service, and others hire a lawyer to complete it), and submit that paperwork to the family court in the county in which one or both of them reside. A judge reviews this paperwork, and is generally delighted that he or she wasn’t asked to figure out the details, but was presented with an agreement that the couple had already reached. A judge may have questions, but a couple that has had a good conversation and understands what they’ve agreed to generally has no problem answering those questions satisfactorily.
STEP ONE – THE CONVERSATION
Many couples sit down and sort out their plans without any professional help. They find it easy or at least manageable to sort out the common questions: What will we do with the house? What plans do we need to make about taking care of the kids? How are we going to share the costs of raising the kids? How are we going to share other living costs? How are we going to divide up our assets and debts?
A variety of challenges arise for some couples around this conversation. The common challenges include: serious disagreements with each other about what the answers should be; being overwhelmed by the complexity of these questions; being overwhelmed by the emotions connected to the spouse and the divorce, or combinations of these challenges. These challenges are the ones that I may be able to help with. Feel free to call me at 651-699-5000 to discuss your situation.
Once the conversation has been completed to the couple’s satisfaction, either on their own, or with the help of a mediator – and assuming the couple still wants to get divorced, they’re ready for the next step, completing the paperwork.
STEP TWO – THE PAPERWORK
Here’s one place to start to do the paperwork on your own. If you’d like to see the forms required in Minnesota, you can download them here. Another option is to hire a paralegal service or a lawyer to help you complete the paperwork.