In this video, attorney Jason Brown provides a summary of the three most common ways that divorce cases are resolved in Minnesota: (1) direct negotiation; (2) alternative dispute resolution (such as mediation or early neutral evaluation); or (3) a trial. The good news is that the vast majority of family law cases settle outside the courtroom.


There are three main ways that divorce cases are resolved in Minnesota. Each are rather different and each have varying timeframes and expenses associated with them.

The first approach that we like to take involves simply sitting down and trying to resolve the case without the need to go to court at all. Sit down and have a conversation with your soon-to-be ex and talk about all the issues in your case. If we’re able to resolve it that way, we can simply draft up an agreement, file it with the court. In some cases, there’s a need for a brief court appearance, but beyond that, the matter will be resolved promptly and efficiently.

The second best alternative involves filing the case with the district court and then participating in a court-approved program called early neutral evaluation. An early neutral evaluation affords the parties an opportunity to sit down with a court-appointed neutral to present the facts of their case and then to have a conversation about what they would like to see in terms of an outcome. Once the neutral has heard from everybody, the neutral will take a break and then come back and render an opinion about what they think the range of likely outcomes is. And once we receive that opinion, we’re able to negotiate, and about 80% of the time, we’re able to reach an agreement. So it’s not quite as inexpensive as an uncontested divorce where we’re just meeting initially, but it certainly avoids the time and expense associated with traditional litigation.

And then the third and most complex option involves a trial. A typical timeframe for a litigated case involves a year or more. The cost can be 10 times the cost of a more uncontested case. The good news though is that about 98% of the cases that we handle, and I’ve run the numbers, resolve short of a trial. And so it is a very rare thing for a matter that we handle to go to trial. We’re prepared to do it, but certainly given the time and expense, we want to try those first less expensive alternatives first.

You are invited to contact Jason at (763) 323-6555 if you have any other questions concerning divorce in Minnesota.

Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated with honors from Mankato State University in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.

Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper