divorce in MN

Should YOU Make the First Move?

Often, people who know a divorce is coming ask me whether they should file first, or whether they should let their spouse file first.  My answer is “It depends.” If the divorce is non-contested, if you and your spouse get along well and you know with certainty that you will reach an amicable, peaceful agreement .. read more

Minnesota Divorce and Child Custody

The issue of child custody and parenting time can be contentious in divorce proceedings.  I always advise people that it is best to resolve disagreements about child custody and parenting time amicably.  This can happen in discussions between the parties, but more likely it will happen in negotiations between the attorneys or in mediation. If .. read more

Minnesota Divorce in 2011

As followers of this blog know, I believe that the biggest challenge currently facing the family court system in Minnesota is lack of adequate funding.  I think it is important that everyone communicate to their legislators how important it is that Minnesota courts be adequately funded.  Lack of adequate funding results not only in fewer .. read more

Minnesota Child Support

The Minnesota Child Support laws underwent a significant change in 2007.  The impact of this change is significant.  Under the old law, the parent who had physical custody of the children received child support.  Whether that parent (the physical custodian) worked or did not work had nothing to do with the calculation. Today things are .. read more

The Future of Family Law in Minnesota?

The fact is that I do not know what is going to happen in the future, anymore than anyone else does. But, I think it is possible to make some prognostications based upon what is happening now. In my opinion, the Minnesota district court system, including the family court, is facing a crisis of funding. .. read more

Can I Represent Myself in a MN Divorce Proceeding?

People sometimes ask me whether they can represent themselves in a Minnesota divorce proceeding.  The answer is “Yes.”  One can always represent oneself in a court proceeding. However, you need to keep in mind that in Minnesota, it is also legal to remove your own appendix. Just because its legal doesn’t mean that it is .. read more

MN Divorce – Temporary Hearing

In a Minnesota divorce proceeding, if the case is not resolved early on by the Early Neutral Program or mediation, the next step might be a motion for temporary relief.  A “motion” is when one asks the court to do something.  In divorce cases, the usual motion seeks to have the court award temporary child custody, .. read more

Minnesota Divorce Procedure

As I mentioned in the previous blog post, most courts in Minnesota do not use an Early Neutral Evaluation program.  In those counties, the procedure that takes place during the divorce is somewhat different. Most Minnesota divorce courts convene a pre-trial hearing to talk about the scope and parameters of the case.  Often this is .. read more

MN Divorce Petition

A Minnesota divorce proceeding is started by the service of a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage.  “Service” means that the documents (the Summons and Petition) need to be personally handed to the recipient by someone other than his or her spouse. A Summons is a document that in effect gives the district court .. read more

MN Divorce, Fear and “Discovery”

I am a Minnesota divorce lawyer.  I practice divorce law in Hennepin County, Minnesota.  Divorce varies significantly from state to state, because it is pretty much a creation of state (not federal) law.  However, one thing that I think is common in all divorces, regardless of where they take place, is “fear.” One of the .. read more

How Long Do I Need to be in Minnesota?

People occasionally ask me how long they need to reside in Minnesota before they can file for divorce in Minnesota.  The answer is 180 days (which is six months).  You have to have resided in Minnesota for six months before you can file for divorce here.  If you have moved to Minnesota from another state, that .. read more

The Cost of Minnesota Divorce

People often ask how much it costs to get divorced.  The answer is “it depends.”  Certain costs are predictable.  Currently, it costs $400 to file a divorce petition in a Minnesota district court.  Some counties charge slightly higher, depending upon the amount of the surcharge for the county law library.  If each party appears in .. read more

How To Modify Child Support in MN

People often ask how to modify child support in Minnesota.  Sometimes this process is not complex and it can be done without an attorney.   More often the process is complex and you need an attorney.  I always recommend that people have an attorney when going to court.  Of course, I’m an attorney.  What else would .. read more

Obtaining Financial Info in MN Divorce Cases

Often a party to a divorce proceeding will try to hide information about his or her income and assets.  There are various tactics an opposing attorney can use to try to obtain documentation about a party’s real income or assets. There are, of course, the obvious sources.  These include income tax returns and paycheck stubs.  .. read more

Why Divorce Sucks

Divorce is a difficult process.  It is jarring.  It is emotional.  Aside from the death of a loved one, divorce is probably one of the more miserable experiences a person will have.  People going through a divorce have anxieties about the future.  They have concerns about how divorce will impact their children.  They have worries .. read more

MN Divorce Proceeding – Temporary Relief

In a Minnesota divorce proceeding, the temporary relief hearing can be the single most important aspect of the case.  At a temporary relief hearing, the judge will make decisions on a temporary basis–decisions about temporary child custody and parenting time, temporary child support and temporary spousal maintenance, temporary occupancy of the home, and other issues.  Since .. read more

MN Divorce and Income Tax Exemptions

Often people who divorce in Minnesota forget to address the issue of the income tax depdency exemptions for their minor children.  This issue should not be overlooked because, cumulatively, it could save a spouse tens of thousands of dollars on his or her income tax return. From the perspective of the Internal Revenue Service, after parents .. read more

MN Legal Separation and MN Divorce

Occasionally I am asked about the difference between a legal separation and a divorce.  As always, my comments on this blog pertain to Minnesota law only.  Though Minnesota family law is often similar to family law in other states, as often it is not.  There is no federal “family law,” and there very few federal .. read more

What Is Discovery In Minnesota Divorce?

In Minnesota, a divorce proceeding is a lawsuit, similar to just about any other district court proceeding.  Minnesota divorce procedures are governed by the Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure, which are court rules that regulate all legal proceedings in Minnesota courts.  Additionally, there are other, more specific rules pertaining to divorce proceedings that are set forth .. read more

The So-Called $99 Divorce is Probably a Scam

Its no secret that the government is running low on money these days.  The court system (which is one of the three branches of government) is running low on money too.  Recently, Minnesota Chief Justice Eric J. Magnuson gave an interivew that was published in the Minneapolis Star and Tribune, in which he commented openly on .. read more

How To Deal With Jerks

This may be hard to believe, but when you are involved in the practice of family law for any period of time, you will run into your share of jerks.  Often, these are opposing counsel — men and women — who believe that the best way to accomplish something is to be either insulting or .. read more

What is Early Neutral Evaluation?

Early Neutral Evaluations occur mostly in Hennepin County, Minnesota.  Many people do not know that the procedure for getting divorced in Minnesota varies from county to county.  In Minnesota, the court system is organized into “districts.”  There are 10 judicial  districts in Minnesota.  Some judicial districts are comprised of several individual county courts.  Other judicial districts are .. read more

What If You Do Not Serve An Answer?

In Minnesota, a divorce Summons contains a formal notice that the person being served with the Summons and Petition has thirty (30) days in which to serve an Answer.  What happens if you do not serve an Answer?  The answer is simple: you lose.  An “Answer” is a formal pleading that is similar to the .. read more

What is “No Fault” Divorce in Minnesota

Minnesota is a “no fault” divorce state.  To the best of my knowledge, most, if not all states in the United States are no fault divorce states. What this means is that in a Minnesota divorce proceeding, one does not have to prove that the other spouse is at fault before a divorce can be granted.  .. read more

Modifying Divorce Decrees in Minnesota

In Minnesota, it is possible to modify certain parts of a divorce decree after the divorce is final.  A Minnesota divorce becomes “final” when the judge has signed the divorce Judgment and Decree (the full title of the document is “Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree) and the .. read more

Child Support in Minnesota

People frequently ask me how the Minnesota child support laws work.  There is a new Minnesota child support law, because the old law was modified significantly in 2007.  Now, child support is calculated using the gross incomes of both parents.  But, that’s not the most significant change.  The most significant change is that the amount of child .. read more

What is a Temporary Relief Hearing?

Often it can take several months to complete the divorce process.  If there are disputes about custody and parenting time, disputes about the value of assets, or disputes about how much alimony or spousal maintenance should be paid, it can take several months to resolve these.  In the meantime, the parties need to continue living .. read more

Holiday Parenting Time in MN

This is the time of year that many divorced parents begin to have problems with holiday parenting time.  Often times, divorce decrees are ambiguous about holiday parenting time.  A divorce decree might say that parenting time is “reasonable and liberal,” without saying anything about a specific parenting time schedule.  Or a divorce decree might say .. read more

When Should I Tell My Spouse?

One question I am often asked is when a spouse should discuss his or her intention to divorce with the other spouse.  My response is usually that “it depends.”  It is important for couples to try to cooperate during and after the divorce process, especially if they have children.  My experience is that most couples can .. read more