How do I hire an attorney at your office?
The first step to hiring our law firm is to contact one of our intake coordinators who can schedule an initial consultation with the attorney of your choice. After the consultation if you choose to hire Tuft, Lach, Jerabek & O’Connell, PLLC you will be required to sign an Agreement for Legal Services, which outlines our rates and the terms of our representation and pay a retainer fee, the amount of which varies depending on the complexity of your case. For your convenience, our law firm accepts all major credit cards for payment.
How much does a divorce cost?
Just as no two people are alike, no two divorces are alike either. The cost of a divorce can vary drastically depending upon several factors, including the number and the complexity of the issues involved and whether parties are willing to work toward an amicable resolution of the issues. A couple that has already agreed on all of the issues, such as custody, parenting time, child support, and division of the marital estate prior to commencing a divorce action could spend as little as a few thousand dollars. A couple that has complex issues, such as custody or division of a large marital estate could spend $10,000, $25,000, $50,000 or more. There are many factors that impact the cost of the dissolution, including whether the attorneys are able to effectively communicate and advocate on behalf of their clients; the behavior and attitude of the parties; and even how the judge handles the divorce proceeding. Though during this time emotions are often running high and it may be difficult to remain practical, it is important to be realistic about what can be accomplished within the limitations of one’s budget.
What is a no-fault divorce?
“No-fault” divorce describes any divorce where the spouse asking for a divorce does not have to prove that the other spouse did something wrong. Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state and the parties will be granted a divorce regardless of the basis for the disintegration of the marriage. In fact, the court will not inquire as to the basis for the break up of the marriage except to the extent that it impacts child custody or other issues before the court.
What is a legal separation?
A legal separation is when the parties remain married, but the court regulates the marriage in terms of determining use and possession of property, setting spousal maintenance, child support, custody and parenting time. In a legal separation, the court may not award ownership of property. Though Minnesota law provides for legal separation, it is infrequently used. Sometimes parties prefer a legal separation in the hopes of an eventual reconciliation. A legal separation can be, and often is, converted to a divorce proceeding by either party.
What are the requirements for filing a petition for divorce?
To file a petition for dissolution of marriage in the State of Minnesota you must be a resident or domiciled in our state for at least 180 days. This residency provision can vary from state to state. There is no residency requirement for filing a Petition for Legal Separation. You must also pay the Court a filing fee.
Does it matter whether I initiate the divorce or my spouse does?
In general, it does not matter who the initiating party is in a divorce proceeding. It is the court’s view that each party is entitled to a fair result no matter who commences the action.
How quickly do I need to start my divorce?
Like many answers to a divorce lawyer’s FAQ, the answer here is “it depends.”
In many cases, there is no timeline that you have to adhere to for your divorce, and you can usually take the process at your own pace. A lot of times people make the decision about pace relative to their children and what they think would be best for them and that is okay.
Pace matters when there are safety concerns for anyone in the family, or when you think there is a possibility that your spouse could be mishandling the finances (for example, spending too much, moving money around, hiding assets, etc.). These are examples of when we would tell someone that they should be starting the divorce process as soon as possible.
It is also important to pay attention to the timeline if your divorce has been filed with the Court. While many people choose to not file their divorce with the Court until they submit a final decree dissolving their marriage, sometimes the case gets filed earlier, and there are legal deadlines you need to adhere to. If you have been served a Summons and Petition for divorce, you also have legal deadlines to adhere to and you should reach out to one of our attorneys for assistance in meeting those deadlines and next steps.
What is a collaborative divorce?
In the collaborative divorce process, both parties to the divorce action agree to make a good faith effort to resolve all issues on their own with the assistance of their attorneys and without putting any issues of their divorce before the court. The collaborative process is often used by individuals who wish to minimize conflict, protect their children from the harm litigation can cause, and preserve a respectful working relationship after the divorce process is over. Under this process both parties must use attorneys who are members of the Collaborative Law Institute to handle their divorce. The parties and attorneys sign a Participation Agreement at the beginning of the case whereby they agree to proceed through the collaborative process, cooperatively exchange financial information, and maintain confidentiality. If at any point during the process it is determined that the case cannot be resolved without litigation, both attorneys must withdraw from the case, and the parties must hire new counsel to represent them or proceed pro se (without counsel). Dan O’Connell is a member of the Collaborative Law Institute and a has experience working within the collaborative divorce process.
What is divorce mediation?
Divorce mediation is a process by which parties to a divorce agree to meet with a neutral third party to help them reach an amicable resolution on the issues of their divorce. Mediation can be a very useful tool in many situations and is often ordered by the court once a divorce action has been commenced. However, there are situations in which mediation is not appropriate, such as if one party has been the victim of domestic abuse at the hands the other spouse, or otherwise feels threatened or intimidated by their spouse. Thomas Tuft, James Street, John Jerabek, Dan O’Connell, Letty Van Ert, Lindsey O’Connell, Alexandra Connell, and Allyson Kerr in addition to being licensed attorneys are also Rule 114 Qualified Neutrals (mediators).
How long does it take to complete a divorce?
The length of a divorce action can vary greatly with each individual case. If the parties are in agreement on all of the issues in their divorce their case may be completed in a matter of weeks. However, if the matter needs to be litigated in Court (i.e. issues are being contested) it could take significantly longer before the divorce can be finalized. If the court needs to schedule the case for trial, the divorce process could take twelve months, if not longer, in order to finalize the divorce.
Can the provisions of a divorce decree be changed at a later time?
In general, once a divorce decree has been entered most provisions are non-modifiable unless appealed or if it can be proven, in a timely fashion, that fraud or mistake of fact has occurred, or newly discovered information has come to light. However, provisions related to child support and child custody or parenting time can be modified under limited circumstances if certain criteria are met. For more information about modifications in specific areas, please refer to our Practice Areas section and your specific topic.