Starting a divorce case in Minnesota, otherwise known as a dissolution of marriage case, requires three primary actions: dialogue, service, and filing.
Dialogue is the first step in figuring out if your divorce case is going to be contested or uncontested. Uncontested divorce involves reaching an agreement with your spouse about how to divide up property and coordinate custody and parenting time of the children. Talking with your spouse about any financial or parental issues before starting a divorce case can help you avoid unnecessary and burdensome legal fees as well as the emotional toll of participating in court litigation.
If you do not feel comfortable or able to negotiate productively with your spouse, you may want to consult an attorney who can advise you on your rights and your options and negotiate on your behalf.
Service is the second step of many divorce cases in Minnesota. Service of process involves sending someone, such as a friend, relative, process server, or a sheriff's deputy, to personally deliver the formal documents in your case. Those documents are the summons and petition for dissolution. The summons informs your spouse that they must respond to the petition. The petition informs the spouse of the facts you believe to be true and the things you will be asking the court to order.
Filing is frequently the third step of starting a divorce case in Minnesota. Per Minnesota Statutes section 518.09, a divorce action starts when the documents have been served on the other person and generally should be brought and filed in the Minnesota county where either person lives. Going to the courthouse in the county you live in is one option. Another is filing online through the Minnesota Courts e-filing system.
If you have any questions about any of these steps, contact Cresston at 612.470.0529 for a free initial consultation.