Divorce is difficult, especially when the divorce is contested. That is to say, the parties do not agree on the terms of their divorce. It has nothing to do with whether the parties agree to get divorced or not. Remember, it takes two to get married, but only one to get divorced. If one spouse wants to get divorced, there is nothing the other spouse can do to stop it.
If you are going through divorce, you need an experienced Minneapolis divorce attorney representing your interests. They will help keep you focused on the issues that matter. Be sure to read our “Ignorance is not bliss” article on contested divorce in Minnesota.
The Roadmap Of Divorce
A contested divorce starts with the service of a Summons and Petition on your spouse (or your spouse can avoid service by signing a document “admitting” service). The Summons and Petition are prepared based upon information supplied in your answers to a questionnaire. The Summons and Petition are then e-filed at the Courthouse in the county where one of the spouses resides.
In almost all counties, the next step is the scheduling of an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC). The ICMC usually happens within a few weeks of filing. At the ICMC, you will meet the judicial officer (Judge of Referee depending upon the county) assigned to your case. The Court will not rule on any contested issues. Rather, the Court will get some basic information about the facts of your case, and determine the next steps for moving your case forward.
At the ICMC, you are likely to get a speech from the Court explaining the importance of settling the case through the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) process, rather than taking your case through the Court system and an eventual trial. If you have custody and parenting time disputes, you will likely get referred to a Social Early Neutral Evaluation (SENE). See Child Custody. If you have financial disputes (child support, spousal maintenance, or property division), you will likely get referred to a Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE). See Property Division. Early Neutral Evaluations are designed to go you a voice early in the process, rather than turning your life over to a Judge.
Follow-up status phone conferences between the lawyers and the Court are often scheduled at the ICMC. During the status conference, the lawyers will report whether the ENE’s were successful or not. If they were successful, one of the lawyers will draft a Judgment and Decree containing the terms of the agreement. If agreements were not reached, often times the next step is to schedule a pretrial hearing with the Court.
You will find that Your Minneapolis divorce attorney will give you the individualized representation you need throughout this difficult process. You will receive advice, guidance, and information about what is happening so you can make informed decisions that will enable the process to move along as smoothly as possible.
Contact A Minneapolis Divorce Attorney
Divorces often go down the wrong path because the parties have no sense of what the law does (or does not) entitle them to. They find themselves arguing about things that don’t matter. Our job is to keep you focused on the legal issues that are in need of resolution. With a qualified attorney working for you and providing you with the advice you need so you can make informed decisions, the process becomes less stressful. You are able to make your wants as clear as possible and have the guidance you need so you aren’t navigating the process alone. To learn more about how Beyer & Simonson, LLC can help you in your divorce case, call 952-303-6007 and schedule a free consultation.