Offering A Roadmap To The Minnesota Divorce Process
When first approaching the divorce process, it can be easy to feel overwhelmed and intimidated. You may be uncertain how to begin or what the process of ending your marriage will look like.
Meinerts Law Office, P.A., likes to break down this legal process into three major phases so that clients understand the status of their case and what the purpose of each procedure is. Attorney Merlyn Meinerts can also provide clients with personalized information about their options and the way that the Minnesota divorce process may look for them.
Step 1. Gather Information
Once you choose a lawyer, the divorce process in Minnesota begins with gathering information such as names of the parties, birthdates and addresses, along with detailed financial information.
To obtain full and accurate information, your lawyer will need to scrutinize tax returns and pay stubs, bank statements and retirement plan accounts such as 401(k) plans. If there is an allegation that a spouse is unemployed or underemployed voluntarily, your lawyer will also review earnings history. If your spouse is self-employed, business income and expenses will need to be reviewed. For liabilities, all credit card statements, loans and other debts will need to be scrutinized and evaluated.
This step will create a preliminary balance sheet to have an understanding of the marital estate as a whole as you move forward in the Minnesota divorce process. Discovery may be necessary to force the other side to produce information and documents.
Step 2. Initiate The Divorce
To initiate a divorce, two documents will be prepared:
- Summons – This is a formal notification of legal action. It provides a time for the other party to respond and a basic restraining order that prevents both parties from disposing of assets, changing insurance or disrupting the status quo.
- Petition for dissolution of marriage – The petition is specific to your circumstances. It notifies the other party of issues such as marital property division, child custody, child support and spousal maintenance. This document includes a recognition that the parties have lived in Minnesota long enough to divorce in this state. The petition will state that the reason for divorce is an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage relationship. Since Minnesota is a no-fault state that is all you have to say. The petition ends with a prayer for relief from the court.
The firm will seek temporary relief for child custody and visitation, child support, monthly finances, spousal maintenance and, if appropriate, attorney’s fees while your divorce is in process.
Step 3. Create A Marital Termination Agreement
In Minnesota, your divorce will be concluded by a document known as a Marital Termination Agreement. You and your spouse, with the assistance of your respective attorneys, will try to come to an agreement on the division of your property, your parenting plan and any family support payments.
If you and your spouse are unable to agree, a court will make a decision as to how the divorce terms are defined. That generally involves a trial.