Marital dissolution cases in Minnesota involve a number of procedural elements. Here is a summary, from case inception through appeal:
- Filing: Once the Summon and Petition are served upon a party, the action may be filed with the Court.
- ICMC: First interaction with the Court is an Initial Case Management Conference. This is an informal conference to determine the issues and how to best proceed. Parties can elect ENE or traditional litigation.
- ENE: Early Neutral Evaluation occurs, if the parties agree to participate. There are two types: (1) social early neutral evaluation (SENE) for custody and parenting time issues; (2) financial early neutral evaluation (FENE) for financial issues.
- Temporary Motion: If ENE fails, or the parties don’t participate, a Motion for Temporary Relief may be scheduled. Custody, child support, possession of property, allocation of debt, spousal maintenance and case fees and costs will be addressed on a temporary basis.
- Discovery: Parties formally exchange information or hire experts to assist with complex issues.
- Pre-Trial: The parties negotiate at the courthouse, after discovery is complete, with input from the judge.
- ADR: Anytime prior to trial, the parties may elect to participate in alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, arbitration or a moderated settlement conference.
- Trial: In the absence of settlement, the matter will be tried to a judge. There are no jury trials in family court.
- Appeal: If either party is dissatisfied with the outcome, they have the right to appeal.
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