Divorce is difficult. It is perhaps the most difficult transition that a person will ever experience. People are forced to make complex decisions regarding their future at a time when they feel emotional and vulnerable. Navigating the divorce process requires an appreciation for family relationships, particularly when there are children involved, recognition of financial complexities, and an understanding of the laws and research that govern legal outcomes. Consequently, people going through a divorce often seek experienced legal counsel to advise them on these complex issues and to advocate on their behalf in negotiations and in the courtroom.
Matt Ludt, of Atticus Family Law, will help you identify your priorities, show you how they are related to one another, and develop an action plan. We operate with a ‘big picture’ perspective so that your overall plan takes into account what is best for you, your children, and your financial security, both during the divorce and in the long run.
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. This means that in order to pursue a divorce, a person does not have to prove that their partner was adulterous, abusive or neglectful, only that there has been an irretrievable breakdown in the marital relationship.
Before a divorce can be granted, decisions regarding the various aspects of the marriage and the marital estate must be made. These decisions may include:
- Custody and Parenting Time: A decision must be reached by the parties, or decided by the court, as to who will have physical custody of minor children. Decisions must also be made for the non-custodial parent regarding parenting time for weekdays, weekends, holidays and summer time. These decisions need to serve the best interests of the children and must take into account the realities of both parents, including any mental health, chemical dependency, and domestic abuse concerns.
- Legal Custody: The important decisions of children’s lives, including medical care, religious upbringing, and schooling, typically need to be made by both parties. In some cases, the parties or the court decide to award this decision-making authority to just one parent.
- Child Support accounts for the costs of the everyday living needs of the children, including medical insurance support and childcare costs. Further decisions need to be made about how to divide uninsured expenses such as co-pays and braces.
- Division of assets and debts: In a divorce, there needs to be an equitable division of marital assets. These assets can include houses, vacation cabins and/or land, household furnishings, retirement and bank accounts, small businesses, vehicles (including recreational vehicles, boats and motorcycles) and other personal property including jewelry and antiques. Debts may include mortgages, loans, and credit cards. The assets and debts need to be valued, assessed for their non-martial qualities, and divided in a manner that is fair to both parties.
- Spousal maintenance: Decisions need to be made regarding the award of financial assistance, popularly referred to as “alimony,” from one party to the other, especially when one spouse may not have worked outside the home during the marriage and is not in a position to be immediately self-supporting.
If you need legal representation in a divorce, contact Matt Ludt at Atticus Family Law, in Stillwater, Minnesota. We are committed to helping you develop a plan that values your priorities as well as protecting your interests in negotiations and in court.