The Details of a Minnesota Divorce

How does a Minnesota divorce case start?

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.

Should I hire a lawyer or go to mediation?

Why pick one?  You should do both.  Lawyers and mediators play different roles in the family court system.  Some people are surprised to learn that I use mediators on almost every case.  The job of a lawyer is to offer advice and guidance.  The job of a mediator is to facilitate agreement.  A mediator should never recommend that you accept a settlement or advise you that a settlement is fair.  If they do, they’ve gone beyond their role.

When selecting a mediator, it’s important to consider their qualifications.  Contrary to popular belief, not all mediators are experienced divorce lawyers.  Some are therapists.  Others are just people with an interest in family law.  The mediator you pick makes a difference.  When I pick a mediator, I look for very experienced professionals with an established track record in family court.

How long does it take to get divorced in Minnesota?

It depends on where you live and how much disagreement there is in the case.  In uncontested cases, Minnesota divorces can usually be finished in 2 to 4 months.  Contested cases can take as long as 2 years.

Do we have to go to court to get divorced?

Not always.  It depends on the facts of your case.  Ask me during your initial meeting.