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Divorce & custody processes

The Typical Divorce &
Custody Processes in Minnesota

Strategy Session

Two weeks prior to filing and service of court documents.

It is essential that we start with our client and their attorney and paralegal from Atticus Family Law meeting to clearly identify all of the client’s objectives. We do this by discussing the facts, the other people involved, such as the other party and children, and identifying the problems.

Strategy Session

Two weeks prior to filing and service of court documents.

It is essential that we start with our client and their attorney and paralegal from Atticus Family Law meeting to clearly identify all of the client’s objectives. We do this by discussing the facts, the other people involved, such as the other party and children, and identifying the problems.

Commencing a Case for Divorce or Custody Establishment

The filing of court documents is the start of litigation.

The process officially begins when one party has a Summons and a Petition given to the other party. The person who initiates this process is called the Petitioner. The Petition states the facts and “pleads” what the Petitioner wants, which includes the applicable concerns for custody, parenting time, child support, assets, debts, spousal maintenance, et cetera.

Initial Case Management Conference

Two – six weeks after the pleadings are filed and served.

Within a few weeks of filing the pleadings for divorce or custody establishment, there will be the first hearing with a judge. At this hearing, the judge, the parties, and their attorneys will hold a short discussion to introduce the judge, identify the disagreed-upon issues to be resolved, and determine whether there are concerns that need sorting while the case is pending (i.e., temporary support, exclusive use of the house, parenting access).

Discovering Information & researching facts

Informally it starts immediately; Formal requests start after ICMC.

In order to reach any agreement, all information relevant to the issues needs to be known; inevitably, there is information and documents that one spouse has access to that the other does not. Colloquially we refer to this as “discovery.”

Temporary Relief Hearing

Two – five weeks after the ICMC.

In some cases, particularly if there are children involved, certain matters must be addressed early in the process. Minor children cannot wait several months to be told where they will sleep each night, for example. In these cases, a temporary relief hearing may be held to decide how certain time-sensitive matters will be handled while the case is in progress.

Mediation or Early Neutral Evaluation

Anytime, but usually after the initial discovery.

All Minnesota courts require that both parties in a contested family law matter first try to reach a settlement outside of court through a process called alternative dispute resolution (ADR). There are several forms of ADR, with the most common being mediation and early neutral evaluations.

Pretrial Hearing

About six months after the ICMC.

A few months after the ICMC the court will hold a Pretrial Hearing. Often the courts expect the parties to use that morning or afternoon to continue to discuss and negotiate the issues to reach further agreements.

Final Trial

Usually, nine months to a year after the start of litigation.

If all attempts at reaching an agreement fail, then your divorce or child custody case will have to be decided by a judge at trial.

Implementation

Legal work by attorneys completed in 20-60 days after final decree.

After a decree has been issued by the court, either because the parties reached a full agreement or there was a trial, the terms of the decree must be implemented.

Checkout Session

60 days after the final decree.

Once the attorney implementation work is done, our client will meet for the last time with their attorney. The purpose of a checkout is to make sure the client has a full understanding of their decree, they know best practices and hacks for managing their relationship with their ex, they anticipate what changes are going to be needed to support and parenting time as incomes and circumstances change in the years to come, they know post-representation questions will be answered without charge, and otherwise close their case.

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FREE Download.
10 things you need to secure in your divorce plus crucial questions to choose an attorney. Critical points such as:

  • Decisions about the children’s future and parenting time.
  • Responsibility for spouse’s debt and spending.
  • Separation of assets and income.
  • Who will work on my case?
  • How long will it all take?
  • How will you accomplish my goals?
  • How much will it cost and what do the fees include?

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