Perhaps a big, church wedding was something you dreamed about since childhood. As you lived your dream and got married, little thought was devoted to the possibility of divorce. Unfortunately, however, some marriages don’t last. Regardless of the cause, coming to terms with the fact that a marriage isn’t going to work can be a painful and emotional realization.
The end of a marriage can affect your life emotionally and financially. When dealing with issues of the heart, it may be difficult to look at the legal implications involved in ending a partnership. The agreements made to finalize a divorce can affect you for years to come. For this reason, it is recommended that you seek the sound legal advice of a Minneapolis divorce attorney.
When children are involved in the union, it is often more crucial to make the right legal choices following the decision to divorce. One of the top goals is working out the custody and support for the children. Despite a divorce, spending quality time with the children is likely the goal of each parent.
In Minnesota, there two forms of child custody: legal and physical. Each of these types can be sole or joint. The decisions on custody are determined on what is in the best interests of the children. Although Minnesota divorce law doesn’t require a parenting plan, which is an agreement between the two parents on custody, it is advised to work one out. When child custody is contested, a judge can make the official ruling.
Sometimes the court will appoint a child custody mediator to help parents deal with objections from the other spouse and arrive at a mutually agreeable result.
Child support is calculated according to a basic formula, and it must be approved by the court system in Minnesota. Some of the factors that contribute to the amount of child support include:
- The parenting time granted to each spouse
- The debt of each parent
- The expenses of each parent
The court may take into consideration such factors as taxes, union dues and health premiums when determining the appropriate amount of child support.
Property division can be an area with many contested issues. Regardless of how long you were married, debts and assets acquired during the legal union belong to both parties. Property is either separate or marital and joint property is divided equitably in Minneapolis, as well as the rest of Minnesota.
Division Of Property
Types of separate property may include an inheritance or a birthday gift. Examples of separate liabilities could include school loans and gambling debts, which are not typically shared in the dissolution of marriage. In equitable property division the goal is not necessarily to divide everything exactly in half, but to give each spouse a fair and reasonable amount of the assets and debt.
Sometimes the court will factor in the financial needs of each spouse when dividing assets. This can be especially true if one spouse makes significantly more than the other one. Some of assets and debts which are commonly divided include:
- Retirement accounts
- Real estate
- Automobiles, boats and planes
- Collectible items
- Household items
- Bank accounts, stocks, bonds and pensions
- Credit card debt
Meeting with a Minneapolis divorce attorney is a wise choice to protect your interests and learn about, for example, the complicated nature of dividing a pension.
In Minnesota, as long as the residency period of 180 days is met, a couple can file for divorce citing irreconcilable differences. As alternatives to divorce, you can also get legally separated, file an annulment or go through mediation to end the partnership.
A legal separation is different from a separation because you are dividing assets, determining child custody and dealing with many of the same issues in a divorce. In a sense, being legally separated can be a trial run to divorce. The partnership is over; however, you are still legally married and can’t marry anyone else until the marriage is dissolved.
Some of the reasons to legally separate rather than divorce may be financial, emotional or religious. For instance, a spouse can remain on the other person’s health coverage in a legal separation.
The court defines a marriage that has been annulled as “void” or “invalid.” Certain grounds for an annulment need to exist, such as:
- A spouse was under the age of 18 when he or she married, or age 16 or 17 and without parental permission.
- One spouse was already legally married at the time of the marriage (bigamy).
- A person was forced into marriage.
- The people who are married are close blood relatives (incest).
- One spouse committed fraud when entering into marriage, such as using the other spouse to obtain a green card.
- A person entering into marriage was mentally incoherent due to drugs or alcohol.
Annulments are more uncommon than divorce and require proof in order to be granted. If your marriage falls under the conditions to annul, a Minneapolis legal professional can guide you through the process to end the union.
Alternative Dispute Resolution
In alternative dispute resolution (ADR) you and your spouse will meet with a neutral third party who can help with the resolution of child custody and property division, among other issues. Some of the benefits to ADR include saving time, reducing costs and preserving a relationship with your spouse. However, ADR only works with individuals that are willing to cooperate and compromise.
A mediator can help with the following:
- Promote effective communication
- Offer a range of ideas that may help resolve issues
- Diffuse conflict by directing the conversation to a solution
ADR can speed up the process of ending a marriage and can be a good option for those with uncontested issues.
When you are dealing with the uncertain and stressful event of a divorce, it can be reassuring to have an experienced Minneapolis divorce lawyer to inform you on your legal options. Whether you are concerned about sorting through child support matters or how to divide a pension, an experienced attorney can help you understand what choices are right for you. Before you sign any legally binding agreements that can impact your future, it’s wise to have an attorney review the contracts.
How To Choose A Divorce Lawyer
When looking to hire a lawyer, it is typically a wise decision to select one with experience in helping families in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and with a practice focused on divorce. The lawyer you choose can make a difference in the outcome of your situation. During this challenging time, choose a lawyer that will work hard for you and have your best interests in mind.