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DIVORCE in MINNESOTA How Does the Process Work? Knowing What To Expect Can Help You Get Through The End Of A Marriage As Quickly and Easily As Possible

Jason Kohlmeyer


Getting a divorce can be an emotionally difficult process as you end a relationship that you had hoped would last for the rest of your life. Unfortunately, many people do go through the divorce process. Knowing what to expect throughout the steps to divorce can help you to get through the end of a marriage as quickly and easily as possible while ensuring that you end up with a divorce settlement that protects your future.

UNDERSTANDING THE PROCESS OF DIVORCE The divorce process begins when one spouse files the papers to dissolve a marriage. The papers can be obtained from the clerk of court, but it is often beneficial to have an experienced divorce attorney complete the divorce papers for you. You will need to provide specific information in the divorce papers, including details about the grounds for divorce. In the vast majority of divorces today, divorces occur on no fault grounds, which mean that the stated reason for the divorce is irreconcilable differences. After the divorce papers have been filed, the other spouse who did not submit the paperwork to the court will receive the papers and a summons to appear in court. The spouse who receives the papers must respond to the divorce petition and come to court when required or a default judgment can be entered against him or her.

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The couple involved in the divorce will, as part of the divorce process, next need to go through a discovery period where information is exchanged and where financial disclosures are made. Decisions will

need to be made regarding how custody should be divided among the parents if there are children in the marriage. Decisions will also need to be made regarding how assets are to be divided up, what happens to marital property, who will pay child support, how much will be paid, who (if anyone) will pay alimony and how much will be paid out in alimony. After the decisions have been made on these issues, a divorce settlement agreement will be drafted that outlines the terms of the Rosengren Kohlmeyer | Divorce in Minnesota: How Does the Process Work?

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divorce. The couple will have to attend a hearing and may be briefly questioned by the judge. The judge will then give legal effect to the settlement agreement that has been entered into and the marriage will officially be dissolved. Each spouse will become single again and free to remarry if he or she makes the choice to do so. Both will also need to comply with the terms of the divorce agreement, including paying the debt they are required to pay, paying any support or alimony, and sharing custody of the children as required in the custody agreement.

HOW DOES THE PROCESS OF DECIDING CUSTODY AND ASSET DIVISION WORK? For most couples, the most difficult part of the divorce process is the division of marital property as well as the decisions regarding how custody of the children should be shared. This part of the process can take a long period of time and can stretch out the length of time that it takes to end a marriage. This part of the process can also make the divorce much more expensive and very contentious if the couple is not able to come to an agreement. The process of making a decision on custody and assets will involve a discovery period during which each party makes financial disclosures to the other. All information needs to be put on the table. This means that each of the spouses must have a clear idea of what the total Rosengren Kohlmeyer | Divorce in Minnesota: How Does the Process Work?

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amount of marital property is, as well as of the income and assets earned and possessed by both parties to the marriage. If one person is not willing to make fair and full financial disclosures, the court can get involved at the request of the other. The court can compel that financial documents be turned over and information provided. If the spouse who is refusing to share information does not obey the court order and provide the required disclosures, he or she can be held in contempt of the court. Under certain circumstances in the most difficult and contentious of divorces, experts such as forensic accountants need to be hired in order to determine the true state of the financial matters of the spouses.

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There may also need to be other experts consulted such as business valuation experts in high networth divorces where a family business involved. An experienced divorce attorney can help you to determine what experts should be consulted and can help you to find the experts you need. After disclosures are made and there is a clear picture of the financial situation, the couple can negotiate a division of assets themselves. The couple can also create a parenting plan themselves outside of court. A mediator may be consulted for help in achieving an agreement if the couple is committed to agreeing but cannot agree on their own. Deciding issues of finances and custody outside of court is a smart choice because then each spouse is much more likely to be happy with the financial outcome and because the process is much more collaborative rather than adversarial, which is better for kids and which saves stress. Deciding these key issues outside of court is also much less expensive than litigating the issues. Unfortunately, couples are not always able to agree on how to divide up property and assets. If an agreement cannot be reached, then the divorce will need to be litigated. Each of the spouses involved will present information on their relationship with the kids, on their roles in the marriage and on other relevant factors and a judge can make the decisions the couple was unable to make.

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Once an agreement is reached or the judge has made a decision on the issues of asset division, support and custody, then this agreement can take effect and the divorce can become legally binding.

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About the Author Jason Kohlmeyer One of the founding partners of Rosengren Kohlmeyer, Law Office Chartered, Jason has already had a distinguished career that many lawyers would be envious of. While at Hamline University School of Law, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, Jason was elected to sit on the American Bar Association-Law Student Division’s Board of Governors. Despite rigorous demands traveling the country representing the law students of 8 states he still made the Dean’s list while at Hamline. During law school, Jason was a certified prosecutor under the MN Supreme Court’s Certified Student Attorney Rules. Prosecuting for Dakota County, the then fastest growing county in Minnesota, Jason prosecuted nearly every offense in Minnesota including criminal sexual assault, 5th degree assault, a variety of drug crimes as well as first-degree murder.

Rosengren Kohlmeyer Law Office 150 St. Andrews Court, Suite 110 Mankato, Minnesota 56001 www.RokoLaw.com

Rosengren Kohlmeyer | Divorce in Minnesota: How Does the Process Work?

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Divorce in Minnesota: How Does the Process Work?