What You Need to Know if Your Divorce is Starting Tomorrow

It’s Sunday night.  You’re brushing your teeth.  Your spouse barges into the bathroom and blurts out, “It’s happening tomorrow.”  By "it," you know they mean divorce.  It's finally happening.

If you're like me, two things race through your mind.  First is emotional.  Where will I live?  Where will the kids live?  Will I end-up alone?  Second is analytical.  How do I make sure I don’t get screwed?

5 Things You Should Know About Electronic Security and Divorce

I recently heard a forensic investigator discuss how technology can be used in divorce.  He described how he finds deleted files, determines which websites you visited, and even reconstructs your physical movements using the GPS in your smart phone.

By the end of the session, I was convinced I no longer needed technology.  Books were fine for me, thank you.  Ditching my clunky cell phone would save me a lot of money anyway.  And while I rarely do anything scandalous online (okay, maybe a little bit scandalous), I still felt like this electronic snooping was an invasion of privacy.  Without thinking, I reflexively checked my email.  Gulp.

5 Things Being a Divorce Lawyer Has Taught Me About Life

Some things are just true.  Coffee is one of the world’s best drinks.  People are happier on Fridays.  Guys do stupid things to impress women.

Other things are true but harder to see.  Unchecked jealously will destroy you.  The future is uncontrollable.  Change is inevitable.

For the past 13 years, I've been able to look behind the curtain to see into people’s private lives.  Here are some of the truths I learned working with divorcing people:

3 Things To Do When You Just Want Your Divorce To Be Over

Not long ago, I spent an afternoon in court with a woman I had been representing for more than a year.  Her divorce is complicated by the fact that her husband, who has fired his attorney and decided to represent himself, refuses to negotiate with me.  He insists that he and “his wife” will work-out “settlement terms.”  My client feels tremendous pressure to just be done.  Who can blame her?

For many good people, the desire to “finish” their divorce can be overwhelming.  The anxiety about going to court and the uncertainty about what their future holds can make an unfair settlement seem better than no settlement at all.

The Basics of Divorce in Minnesota.

Technically, a divorce serves only to end the marital relationship between two people.  It separates them in the eyes of the law, allowing each to remarry in the future.  Usually, though, much more takes place in a divorce proceeding than just separation.

Minnesota divorce law requires the court to address property, debts, alimony, child support, and all other issues existing between the parties.  Whether any (or all) of these things occurs depends on the needs of the particular people involved.  Decisions in Minnesota divorce cases are made on a case by case basis.

The Details of a Minnesota Divorce

Divorces start by serving a copy of a document called a “Summons and Petition.”  How the document is served depends on the facts of a particular case.  In some cases, we mail the documents to the other spouse.  In other cases, a process server must physically give the documents to the person.  It depends on how cooperative (and urgent) the situation is.  If possible, I prefer to avoid unnecessary drama.

Top 5 Divorce Mistakes

If you are like most people, the concept of divorce is downright scary.  You have questions like:  Where will I live?  When will I see my kids?  Will I have to divide my pension?

Don’t worry.  You’re not alone.  This is perfectly normal.  Trauma research tells us that divorce is usually one of the most traumatic events in a person’s life.  The world can feel as if it has spun-off its axis.  Uncertainty seems to lurk around every corner.

I developed the tips below based on my experience practicing family law.  Take time to think about the issues they raise.  If you do, I'm confident they can help you avoid some of the most common mistakes.