Minnesota's Family Law Blog

When Do I Start The Divorce?

When Do I Call A Divorce Lawyer?

This is always a tough question to answer because, believe it or not, I’m not happy when people get divorced! Yes, I know I make my living as a divorce attorney and I still have a few student loans that need to be paid, but one of my favorite phone calls is when a client calls and tells me that it looks like they are getting back together and please stop the process.  Because of this, I believe that it must be the client’s choice when they should get divorced, not the lawyers.

Ok, with this said, there is usually only a few times I ever advocate for a person to file for divorce:

The other spouse is wasting spousal assets.

Under Minnesota Law, the date of valuation is usually the first pre-hearing conference or another equitable date.  This means that until that point, everything is generally split 50-50, this means debt as well as assets.  In Southern Minnesota, the Judges usually either pick the date the parties actually separate or more often, when the divorce is commenced.  I think most Judges in Minnesota like to use he date the divorce is started because it’s very cut and dry.  So if you file for divorce and your spouse charges $20,000 in credit cards more than likely he or she will have to pay this themselves, but that’s not the case if they do this prior to filing.

This is a good reason to consider filing for divorce sooner rather than later.  If your spouse is going crazy with the Visa or selling assets you need consider the divorce option while you still have some assets left.

Domestic Violence and Marriage

This may seem obvious, but this is another reason you may need to file sooner rather than later.   If you don’t feel safe, if your kids don’t feel safe,  you need to get out as soon as possible.  Once the process is started it is possible to get custody established which might help minimize the conflict.

You’re About To Come Into Some Money

If you’re about to inherit some money or receive a gift or if you feel your lottery ticket numbers are going to hit this Saturday, you may want to file.  While inheritance is non-marital property that s doesn’t’ mean you don’t have to prove it!  It’s very possible to spend a great deal of time and money arguing about what is or is not non-marital property.  So, if you’re on the fence and you are thinking about a divorce and you’re dear Aunt Sally is on her deathbed with a large estate  this might be a valid reason to file.

Over the years I’ve found that some people start a divorce without really wanting it and usually they lose the mental fortitude required to stick with the legal proceeding through the months it takes to finish it.  What usually happens then is they call one day and tell me they can’t take it and will sign off on whatever agreement the other side sends over.

So, there you go, the quick reason to immediately file for divorce (in my opinion) is if your spouse is charging the credit cards excessively, taking out joint loans, spending savings accounts, etc.  Because if you file for marital dissolution your soon to be ex-spouse will need to account for this wasteful spending, but if you’re still married he or she won’t.

Any questions or comments please post them here and I promise I’ll get back to you.

Information obtained in mankatofamilylaw.com may contain knowledgable content about Minnesota Family Law that may be considered beneficial to some; however, in no way should this website or its contents be considered legal advice. Mr. Kohlmeyer is a Minnesota licensed Attorney and cannot provide legal services or guidance to those outside of Minnesota. If you wish to retain Mr. Kohlmeyer as your Attorney in your Family Law matter, contact 507-205-9736.

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