In a 2018 Hidden Brain episode on NPR (click to listen), host Shankar Vedantam covers the topic of why modern marriage is so hard. Vedamtam starts with, “[S]o many marriages become unhappy. Some dissolve. Some end in divorce. And even the successful ones aren’t without challenges. No one would deny that long-term relationships are hard. And in fact, there’s evidence they’re getting harder.” For more on that, I recommend listening to that fascinating episode. Regardless of your reasons, once you have decided it is time to end your marriage, the next question is: how do I get divorced?
Getting divorced is far more complicated and usually more time-consuming than getting married. Start to finish, it can take several months—even over a year—before your divorce is final! In Minnesota, your service of a summons and petition for marital dissolution (i.e., “divorce”) upon the other party generally starts the proceedings (subject to a couple exceptions). Service must be done properly; and the summons and petition must be drafted properly. While there are some resources available online, it is easy to mess it up without the right legal help. This is one of many reasons why, if you can afford it, I recommend that you hire an attorney for your divorce.
Once the summons and petition have been served upon the other party, that party has a period of time within which he/she may respond with a written answer and counterpetition for divorce. After your service of the summons and petition, those and other documents may be filed in state district court. A filing fee (click to for more about fees) is also required to be paid. While beyond the scope of this article, it is important to know that Minnesota must have jurisdiction over the matter and that you need to file your case in the correct district court (there are many in the state, corresponding to counties).
Once the district court accepts your initial filing, a case number is assigned to your matter, a judge is often assigned to your case right away, and an Initial Case Management Conference (“ICMC”) will be scheduled for the parties, their attorneys (if any), and the judicial officer. The ICMC is essentially a “meet and greet” for everyone involved to get on the same page about what the issues are in the case and what the plan is for getting those issues resolved.
And those are generally the first steps, in a nutshell, to starting your divorce in Minnesota. Stay tuned for future blog posts discussing the next steps.
While it will often be a long haul to complete your divorce, getting the right professionals involved early on is sure to help. If you are considering divorce or are dealing with any other family law issues, please contact Streit Law LLC today for a free consultation or to retain Angela. Please visit www.streitlaw.net or call 651-237-3815.