In divorce, everything can seem like an unknown. At Ed Shaw Law, we give clients the information they need to know what to expect for the prospect. Here are the answers to some common questions we get from clients. We encourage you to call us at 218-825-7030 to schedule a free consultation at our Brainerd or St. Cloud office to discuss your specific situation with an experienced lawyer.
How do I start a divorce?
Minnesota is a “no-fault” divorce state, meaning that you don’t have to prove any ground for divorce other than that your marriage has irretrievably broken down. You or your spouse must have lived in the state for at least 180 days before filing for divorce. If you meet these requirements, your first step will be to file a petition for divorce. If you both agree to it, you can file together for a joint petition. Otherwise, one spouse will serve it to the other.
Who gets to stay in the house?
One of the major parts of your divorce settlement will be the division of property. In Minnesota, the division of property has to be fair to both parties, though this doesn’t mean it’s a 50-50 split. If the house is the most important thing to you, you may have to let your spouse have other valuable property in the settlement, for example. As you begin the divorce process, you may want to write down which shared property is most important to you.
Who will take the kids?
This is typically the toughest part of any divorce, and the answer will depend on a variety of factors: the best interest of your children, their current relationships with you and your spouse, your ability to support them emotionally and financially, your living situations, your schedules and more. When possible, you’ll often want to find a way for your children to continue to spend time with both parents. Custody decisions are complicated, and you’ll want to work with your lawyer and your spouse’s lawyer to find a parenting plan that works for everyone involved.
Do we have to go to court?
Not necessarily. If you can reach agreements on custody, property division and other issues with your spouse on your own, the court’s involvement may be limited. Many couples involve a mediator to assist with this process, in addition to their attorneys.