Divorce Lawyer in Minnetonka, Minnesota

divorce lawyer

Minneapolis Divorce Attorneys

Divorce is rough on everyone involved — the spouses, their children and even their friends and relatives. Most people just want to get through it, begin the healing process and move forward. To accomplish this, it is important to have legal representation that helps you make good decisions about your future and your family. We are available to discuss many alternatives such as the Collaborative Practice and Mediation.

At Beckman Steen & Lungstrom, P.A., our divorce lawyer take the time to listen to your concerns and explain your options, and work hard to achieve the best outcome. We are creative attorneys who think outside the box to arrive at solutions that will work for you and your family. We know that even the most amicable divorce is highly stressful; everything is changing and the future can seem rather frighting. Whenever possible our firm tries to use collaborative approach. However, if a settlement is not possible we are fully prepared to represent our clients in court.

Issues in Divorce

A divorce can include many issues which will affect your future, from child custody, child support, spousal maintenance (alimony) and post-divorce modifications.

At our Minnetonka law firm, we educate clients about these issues, making sure they understand the long-term consequences of their decisions. We are strong supporters of divorce mediation and collaborative practice, knowing that these techniques can often save time and money and reduce conflict.

What are the grounds for divorce in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, divorce is a “no-fault” state, which means that neither spouse needs to prove wrongdoing or assign blame in order to seek a divorce. The only grounds for divorce recognized in Minnesota is the “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This means that the marriage has suffered an irreparable breakdown and there is no likelihood of reconciliation between the spouses.

In practical terms, one spouse can initiate the divorce process by stating that the marriage is irretrievably broken and that there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation. It’s important to note that this no-fault ground does not require both spouses to agree or provide evidence of wrongdoing.

However, in certain circumstances, fault or misconduct of a spouse can be considered in matters such as property division, spousal maintenance (alimony), and child custody if it significantly impacts the well-being of the family or the best interests of the children involved. Examples of such misconduct may include domestic abuse, substance abuse, or financial misconduct.

It’s crucial to consult with a divorce attorney in Minnesota who can provide personalized advice based on the specific details of your case. They can guide you through the divorce process, explain your rights, and help you navigate the legal complexities to achieve a fair and satisfactory resolution.

What is the process of dividing assets in a divorce?

The process of dividing assets in a divorce, also known as property division or equitable distribution, varies depending on the laws of the jurisdiction where the divorce is taking place. In Minnesota, property division follows the principle of equitable distribution.

How is child custody determined in a divorce?

In a Minnesota divorce, child custody refers to the legal and physical care of a child or children. When determining child custody, the court’s primary consideration is the best interests of the child. In Minnesota, there are two main types of child custody:

Legal Custody: Legal custody refers to the authority to make major decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, religious practices, and other important matters. Legal custody can be awarded as joint (shared) or sole custody.

  • Joint Legal Custody: In joint legal custody, both parents have an equal right to participate in decision-making for the child. It requires effective communication and cooperation between the parents, even if they are no longer together.
  • Sole Legal Custody: In sole legal custody, one parent has the authority to make major decisions for the child without the need for the other parent’s input or agreement. Sole custody is generally awarded when one parent is deemed unfit or unable to participate in decision-making effectively.

Physical Custody: Physical custody refers to where the child primarily resides and spends their time. It can also be awarded as joint (shared) or sole custody.

  • Joint Physical Custody: In joint physical custody, the child spends a significant amount of time with both parents, and the parenting time is divided relatively equally between them.
  • Sole Physical Custody: In sole physical custody, the child primarily resides with one parent, while the other parent typically has visitation rights or scheduled parenting time.

When determining child custody, the court considers several factors, including but not limited to:

  • The child’s wishes (if they are of sufficient age and maturity to express their preference)
  • The child’s physical and emotional needs
  • Each parent’s ability to provide a stable and nurturing environment
  • The existing relationship between the child and each parent
  • The willingness of each parent to support the child’s relationship with the other parent
  • Any history of domestic violence, abuse, or neglect

In many cases, parents can reach a mutually agreed-upon custody arrangement through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative processes. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will make a custody determination based on the best interests of the child.

It’s important to consult with a Minnesota family law attorney who specializes in child custody matters to understand your rights, obligations, and the specific factors that may impact child custody decisions in your case.

What is alimony and how is it calculated?

Alimony, also known as spousal support or maintenance, refers to the financial support that one spouse may be required to provide to the other spouse following a divorce or separation. The purpose of alimony is to address any economic disparities or imbalances that may exist between the spouses after the end of the marriage. In Minnesota, alimony can be awarded based on several factors, including:

  • Financial Resources and Needs: The court will consider each spouse’s income, assets, and financial needs. This includes factors such as earning capacity, employment opportunities, and the standard of living established during the marriage.
  • Duration of the Marriage: The length of the marriage is taken into account when determining alimony. Generally, longer marriages may have a higher likelihood of alimony being awarded, as there is often a greater financial interdependence between the spouses.
  • Contributions to the Marriage: The court will consider the contributions of each spouse to the marriage, both financial and non-financial. This includes factors such as homemaking, child-rearing, supporting the other spouse’s career, and sacrificing educational or career opportunities.
  • Ability to be Self-Supporting: The court will assess the ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting through employment or other means. Factors such as age, health, education, and job skills will be considered.
  • Standard of Living: The court will strive to maintain a reasonable standard of living for both spouses, taking into account the lifestyle enjoyed during the marriage.

It’s important to note that Minnesota does not have specific guidelines or formulas for calculating alimony. Instead, the court has broad discretion to determine the amount and duration of alimony based on the specific circumstances of each case. The court will weigh the relevant factors and make a decision that is fair and reasonable.

In some cases, spouses may negotiate and reach a voluntary agreement regarding alimony, which can be approved by the court. This allows the parties to have more control over the outcome rather than relying on a judge’s decision.

What are the steps to modify child custody or support orders after divorce?

Modifying child custody or support orders after a divorce requires going through a legal process. The specific steps may vary depending on the jurisdiction, but here is a general outline of the process:

  • Evaluate the Need for Modification: Determine if there has been a significant change in circumstances that warrants a modification of the existing child custody or support orders. Examples of significant changes may include a parent’s relocation, a change in the child’s needs, a change in the financial situation of either parent, or a change in the parent’s ability to fulfill their custodial or financial responsibilities.
  • Consult with an Attorney: It is advisable to consult with a family law attorney who specializes in post-divorce modifications. They can assess your situation, explain the applicable laws, and guide you through the legal process.
  • Gather Evidence: Collect evidence that supports your case for modification. This may include documentation of the change in circumstances, financial records, medical records, school records, or any other relevant information that demonstrates why a modification is necessary.
  • File a Petition: Prepare and file a formal petition with the appropriate court to request a modification of the child custody or support orders. The petition should outline the reasons for the requested modification and provide supporting evidence.
  • Serve the Other Party: Serve the other parent with a copy of the petition and any accompanying documents in accordance with the legal requirements. This ensures that the other party is informed of the modification request and has an opportunity to respond.
  • Negotiation or Mediation: Depending on the circumstances and the willingness of both parties, negotiation or mediation may be attempted to reach a mutual agreement regarding the modification. This can save time, reduce conflict, and provide more control over the outcome.
  • Court Hearing: If an agreement cannot be reached, a court hearing will be scheduled. Both parties will present their arguments and evidence to the judge, who will make a decision based on the best interests of the child and the applicable laws.
  • Obtain the Modified Order: If the court approves the modification, a new court order will be issued reflecting the changes to child custody or support. This order will be legally binding and enforceable.

How long does a divorce take and how do I file for divorce with an attorney?

To file for divorce with an attorney, follow these general steps:

  • Consult with a Divorce Attorney: Schedule a consultation with a divorce attorney to discuss your situation, rights, and options. Choose an attorney who specializes in family law and has experience in divorce cases.
  • Gather Information: Prepare necessary documents and gather information related to your marriage, assets, debts, income, and any other relevant factors. This may include financial records, marriage certificates, prenuptial agreements, and information about children, if applicable.
  • Discuss Divorce Options: Your attorney will explain the various divorce options available, such as litigation, mediation, collaborative divorce, or negotiation. They will help you determine the most appropriate approach based on your circumstances and goals.
  • Initiate the Divorce: If you decide to move forward with a divorce, your attorney will guide you through the process of preparing and filing the necessary legal documents, including the divorce petition or complaint. They will ensure that the paperwork is accurate, complete, and compliant with the court’s requirements.
  • Serve the Other Party: After filing the divorce petition, the other party must be officially served with a copy of the documents according to the legal procedures. This is typically done by a process server or a sheriff’s office.
  • Negotiation and Settlement: Depending on the circumstances and the level of cooperation between the parties, your attorney will engage in negotiations with the other party or their attorney to reach a mutually agreeable settlement on issues such as property division, child custody, child support, and spousal support.
  • Court Proceedings: If an agreement cannot be reached through negotiation or mediation, your attorney will represent you in court proceedings. This may involve hearings, presenting evidence, and making arguments before a judge. The judge will make decisions based on the applicable laws and the best interests of the involved parties, particularly if there are unresolved issues.
  • Finalizing the Divorce: Once all issues are resolved and the court approves the settlement or issues a final order, the divorce can be finalized. This typically involves preparing and filing the necessary documents to formally dissolve the marriage.

Please note that the specific process and requirements for filing for divorce with an attorney may vary depending on your jurisdiction. Consulting with a divorce attorney will provide you with accurate and up-to-date information based on your location and individual circumstances. They will guide you through each step of the process and advocate for your interests during the divorce proceedings.

Contact Our Divorce Lawyers in Minnetonka

Our attorneys know that each case is unique. We take the time to learn about you and your family so we can provide you with legal counsel and advocacy tailored to your specific situation. Call to schedule a free 30 minute consultation with one of our experienced attorneys today.