Uncontested divorce involves an action for marital dissolution in which the parties reach agreement concerning all aspects of the divorce relatively early in the process.
In Minnesota, uncontested divorce is an option for litigants who wish to work together, control their their own future, save significant attorney fees and costs, and bring closure in a timely manner. It’s not that either party to the divorce is necessarily giving anything up. Rather, the litigants are willing to set aside pure emotion, and work together to craft an agreement that is fair and equitable.
In an uncontested divorce in Minnesota, there are a number of issues that may be addressed, including:
- Legal Custody;
- Physical Custody;
- Parenting Time;
- Basic Child Support;
- Medical Support;
- Childcare Support;
- Income Tax Exemptions;
- Asset and Debt Allocation;
- Spousal Maintenance (Alimony); and
- Attorney’s Fees and Costs.
Assuming the relevant issues are agreed upon, our uncontested divorce lawyers are prepared to draft all of the necessary paperwork to bring closure.
Intake and Case Workup
The first step in an uncontested divorce involves the initial client intake and case workup. Our uncontested divorce attorneys will meet with you, free of charge, to discuss your situation. If you feel like our firm is a good fit, we will have you execute a retainer agreement and complete an initial questionnaire. In addition to answering questions about your spouse, children, assets, debts and income, most of our divorce clients are asked to provide a number of documents designed to verify the values included in the ultimate agreement.
Drafting and Service of Process
Once retained, our lawyers will work with you in creating a first draft of the proposed agreement. Once you approve the agreement, we will provide a copy to your spouse in one of two ways. For some, the appropriate method of presenting the agreement involves a joint meeting at our office. Others prefer that the agreement be mailed to their spouse, with a request for review and response. In addition to receiving copy of the agreement, your spouse may be asked to execute a document that verifies that they have received a copy of the initial divorce paperwork.
Once all of the relevant edits are made to the proposed agreement, our attorneys will arrange for a time for all parties to come in and execute the paperwork. Signatures must be notarized, so that there is no question as to whether either side actually signed the document.
Filing with the Court
Once all of the relevant documents are signed, the entire package of materials (summons, petition for dissolution, affidavit of service, confidential information form, certificate of representation, signed stipulation, waiver of counsel and affidavit of name change) are mailed to the court administrator, along with a filing fee. Fees for filing for an uncontested divorce in Minnesota total approximately $400.00. If the divorce is uncontested, only one filing fee must be paid.
Once the court administrator receives the package of materials, a court file will be opened. Thereafter, a judge will assigned to the divorce, a court file number will be issued, and the lawyer will be notified that a final hearing may be scheduled. If the are no children, or if both parties are represented by a divorce attorney, no final hearing will be necessary.
Final Court Hearing
In uncontested divorces involving children, a final hearing is necessary, by statute (again, unless both parties are represented by an attorney). That final hearing is typically scheduled to occur within one month of the time that the court file is opened by court administration.
On the day of the hearing, at least one of the parties to the divorce must appear to answer any questions that the judge may have. Our uncontested divorce attorneys accompany clients to these hearings, to help eliminate any stress or confusion. We also attend to ensure that the judge’s questions are answered appropriately.
At the hearing, the case will be called. Our lawyers ask a series of questions designed to establish a factual basis for the agreement of the parties, and to outline the terms of the agreement for the court. We also verify signatures on the documents and describe the reason for the specific agreements that have been reached. Assuming the court approves of the uncontested divorce terms, the final order is signed by the judge. Within a few days, the court administrator will process the divorce decree, and each side will receive notice of conclusion of the case.
Once the divorce agreement has been signed by the judge, we take the time to wrap up any post-decree issues that need attention, such as the transfer of property deeds, car titles, retirement account allocation and the transfer of personal property.
We’re Here to Help
If you are facing an uncontested divorce, we are here to help. Our family law attorneys take a “try the least expensive options first” approach. Over the last 18 years, we’ve represented countless clients in an uncontested divorce. Call (763) 323-6555 for a free consultation.