Minnesota's Family Law Blog

There are a lot of questions that people have about Divorce in Minnesota and this makes sense, it’s very confusing and complex time in a person’s life.  Here are some of the basic questions that we get asked frequently:

Divorce FAQ’s

In Minnesota, you do have option to get a legal separation instead of a divorce, there are very few (if any) benefits to seek a legal separation instead of a divorce.

How long do I have to live in Minnesota before I can get divorced?

The law indicates at least one of the parties must be a resident of Minnesota for at least 180 days before seeking a divorce.

Is counseling required before seeking a divorce in Minnesota?

No.  Several states do require that you either separate and seek counseling for a period of time before anyone files for divorce.  Minnesota only requires that one of the parties believe that there are irreconcilable differences in the marriage.

What will the divorce cost?

Unfortunately, this is a hard question to answer.  Most qualified Minnesota divorce lawyers charge hourly, often in 6 minute intervals.  The reason is that it depends on a few different factors such as 1) how aggressive will your spouse be? 2) How aggressive your spouse’s lawyer be? 3) Do you have a lot of assets to divide?  after looking at the facts in your case, most skilled divorce lawyers should be able to give you an estimate of what the case will cost.

Do all divorces go to trial?

No, in fact less than 3% actually go to a trial.  Most are settled in what is called Alternative Dispute Resolution, this can mean mediation, arbitration, or even just sitting down with the lawyers trying to resolve the case.

Is what I tell my attorney really confidential?

Usually yes.  If you have someone else in the room, it may not make the conversation confidential which is why you should carefully consider who you bring to your appointments with your Minnesota divorce lawyer.

How do you actually divide personal property?

Under Minnesota law, property is divided equitably (fairly) but as a practical matter, most property is divided equally.  In order to be cost effective, it’s encouraged that you try and divide your personal property between you and your soon to be ex-spouse instead of have the lawyers divide it.

How long does it take to get divorced?

A good question, but one that depends on how much you are going to fight about.  Most cases in Southern Minnesota take between 3-9 months to resolve.  A few other factors are how busy the Judge and Minnesota Divorce Lawyer is can also factor into the equation to determine how long it will take.

What is an uncontested divorce?

An uncontested divorce is when both the husband and wife have determined how they want to divide their assets, debts as well as deal with the custody issues of the parties children. The benefit is that the cost is considerably less, often thousands of dollars less.  If you and your spouse have the ability to sit down and work out the details, by all means do it!  However, it’s very important that even if you get everything worked out you should hire an attorney to do a review of the agreement and prepare the documents needed.  Usually, this can be done for only a few hundred dollars.

How do we divide debts?

Just as property is divided equally, debts are normally divided equally as well.  In Minnesota it doesn’t matter who incurred the debt, nor does it matter what the money was used for (there are rare cases where it might matter) so the debts are divided equally.

How does the Judge decide who gets the kids?

Minnesota uses what’s called the “Best Interest” standard to determine where the children should reside and the parenting time each party gets.  It’s a bit complex but the details on who gets the children depends on 13 factors that the Judge reviews and issues an order, IF the parents can’t decide themselves.

How much child support will be ordered?

Minnesota uses a calculator based on the amount of income you have, your ex has, and the number of overnights you each have.

Can I change my name after the divorce?

Yes, in fact, if you are thinking of changing your name then the time to do it is when you are getting divorced as there is no additional fee associated with it.  Be sure to tell your divorce attorney what name you would like, as it can be any name you wish!

Can I make my ex-wife change her name after the divorce?

No.  Just as you select nearly any name you would like (I always consider changing my name to Chett Steele!), your ex-wife can select any name she wants or choose to not change her name, it’s her call.

Will dating while divorcing hurt my case?

Well, the short answer is it can’t help.  It can confuse the children as well as show you may be unstable if you are having a lot of dates.  My advice is always the same, try and refrain from dating while the divorce is pending.

More questions?  Call our office to schedule a consultation 507-205-9736