There is more than one option available to Minnesota couples seeking a separation or divorce. The facts and circumstances of your particular situation will determine which option is best for you.
There is a plethora of do-it-yourself divorce resources available online and in stores. These resources are targeted at couples attempting to achieve their divorce at low cost and without attorneys. Most, if not all, provide general information and fill-in-the-blank forms.
While this option may be inexpensive, it is no substitute for the benefit of professional legal advice. There can be serious legal and financial consequences to decisions regarding child support, spousal maintenance, and the divisions of assets, debts and real property that can’t be undone later.
If this is the route you ultimately choose, you are strongly advised to have a Minnesota licensed attorney review your do-it-yourself divorce documents before you file them to ensure you fully understand the consequences of what you are agreeing to.
To have your do-it yourself divorce reviewed or learn more about the benefits of working with experienced Minnesota Divorce lawyers, contact Hill Crabb, LLC, to schedule a consultation. We can be reached by calling 612-568-5967 or by completing the online contact form.
An uncontested divorce is one where both spouses file a Joint Petition and Stipulation in which they set forth the issues of their divorce and how they have decided to address each of those issues. Issues to be decided may include:
- custody, parenting time, and holiday schedules for shared children,
- child support
- the division of debts and assets
- the division of retirement accounts
- spousal maintenance
- the disposition of the marital homestead and the transfer its title
- the determination of nonmarital interests
Once the parties reach an agreement on each issues of their divorce, the Joint Petition and Stipulation is drafted, along with any other documents that may be necessary to effectuate the terms agreed upon, which are then filed with the court.
To determine if an uncontested divorce is right for you and your spouse, contact Hill Crabb, LLC, to schedule a consultation. We can be reached by calling 612-568-5967 or by completing the online contact form.
Collaborative divorce is a no-court divorce option. At the beginning of this process, the parties and their attorneys sign a participation agreement which is the defining characteristic of the collaborative divorce process. The participation agreement requires parties and their attorneys cooperate throughout the process, to openly and honestly disclose all relevant information, and refrain from threatening litigation. The agreement also requires that in the event of nonsettlement, the attorneys will withdraw as legal counsel and the parties will have to start over with new attorneys if they proceed to litigation in the court system. Eliminating the threat of litigation and faced with the financial burden of having to start over with new counsel if settlement isn’t reached, encourages parties to be transparent and work toward settlement as a team.
Through four-way settlement meetings, the attorneys and the parties work to identify goals, interests, needs and concerns. Once these are established, the team works to generate specifically tailored solutions that are mutually satisfactory and intended to meet the current and future needs of the parties. If an agreement is reached, the attorneys draft the necessary paperwork to finalize the divorce with the court. No court appearance is required of the parties or their attorneys.
In addition to attorneys, the collaborative process can and often does involve other divorce professionals such as financial neutrals, child specialists and divorce coaches. The facts of the case will often determine whether use of additional divorce professionals will be of benefit.
Litigation is the most commonly recognized Minnesota divorce option. The litigation process begins with a summons and petition for dissolution of marriage that is personally served upon your spouse. Your spouse would be required to provide a written answer to the petition. After the petition for dissolution has been filed with the court, parties attend an initial case management conference (ICMC).
The ICMC hearing is an opportunity for the court, the attorneys and the parties to be in the same room for the first time and collectively identify the issues of the case that need to be addressed. If there are agreements reached on any particular issue, those agreements are reduced to a court order, and an alternative dispute resolution method (ADR) is chosen to help the parties address the remaining unresolved issues of the divorce outside of court. ADR may include mediation or early neutral evaluation (ENE).
The parties will also engage in a discovery process which involves compiling and disclosing information to both parties regarding marital debts and valuation of marital assets such as bank and retirement accounts, and real property. If agreements are reached through ADR, those agreements are reduced to a proposed order and submitted to the court for signing. If agreements are not reached through ADR, the case is set for trial where a judge will hear testimony, receive evidence and make a decision for the parties via a court order.