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What is the basic process for divorce and asset division in Minnesota?

On Behalf of | May 23, 2024 | Divorce

Divorce, legally known as “Dissolution of Marriage” in Minnesota, is a complex process. Although the exact path to finalize the divorce can vary for each couple, there are some general rules that apply to most divorce cases. A basic timeline for the dissolution of marriage often proceeds as follows:

1. File for divorce

The first step is to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage with the district court in the county where either spouse resides. The spouse filing for divorce will then serve the other spouse with a copy of the petition and related documents. The respondent has a specific time frame (usually 30 days) to respond to the petition.

During this period, the court may issue temporary orders regarding child custody, visitation, spousal support, and property division.

2. Negotiation and settlement

Spouses may negotiate the terms of their divorce, including property division, child custody, and support. If they can reach an agreement, they submit the required paperwork to the court.

One of the more difficult portions of the divorce process is the division of assets. Minnesota follows an equitable division approach, aiming for fairness rather than strict equality. The process generally begins by determining which assets are marital and which are separate. Marital assets include property acquired during the marriage, such as real estate, retirement accounts, investments, and businesses started during the marriage. Non-marital or separate assets are usually not divided and may include property owned before the marriage, gifts, or inheritances.

High-value assets, such as business interests, may fall into either category and often require valuation. This process can extend the timeline. Business valuation involves determining the fair market value of a business involves assessing financial records, assets, liabilities, and potential future income. It is often wise to get multiple valuations to better ensure the asset is properly accounted for during the divorce.

If unable to reach a resolution, the courts often encourage the use of mediation to resolve disputes and put together an agreement. This process involves a neutral mediator to help facilitate discussions and find common ground.

3. Court hearings and trial

If no agreement is reached, the case will likely proceed to court hearings. The court addresses unresolved issues, listens to testimony, and reviews evidence.

Ultimately, the court finalizes the divorce. Remember that each case is unique, and the path to completion can vary based on individual circumstances, ultimately taking months to years to finalize.