One of the main questions on the mind of couples contemplating a divorce is how long will the divorce process take. While this is a pertinent consideration, there is no straightforward answer to it.
As experienced Divorce Lawyers in Brainerd, we know that several variables come into play here, which is why the duration of the divorce process can vary. These include the level of cooperation between the spouses, child custody matters, and the complexity of asset and liability division. Resolving all these matters can take a couple of months or even drag on for years.
Factors That Affect the Duration of the Divorce Process
As Minnesota is a “no-fault” state, neither party filing for divorce needs to establish grounds for it. Couples can seek divorce on the basis of “irreconcilable differences.”
The duration of the divorce process depends on several factors such as:
- The number of children involved
- The property owned by both spouses
- The assets and liabilities of both spouses
- Payment of spousal maintenance and/or child support
- Cooperation between the spouses
It is important to know that the more antagonistic the spouses are towards each other, the lengthier and more complex the process will be. This factor may not be in your control though. Even if you are being fully cooperative, but your spouse isn’t, the case may drag on for years.
You should also bear in mind that Minnesota laws mandate that at least one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 180 days before the divorce process begins. So, if you and your spouse have moved here recently, you will need to wait for the necessary amount of time to initiate the divorce proceedings.
In an uncontested divorce, both the spouses reach an agreement, and are only required to arrange the necessary paperwork to move the case directly from start to its conclusion. If you have a Minnesota divorce lawyer representing you, they will write up the agreement and take care of all of the documentation necessary to make sure all the legal requirements are fulfilled.
This agreement and the subsequent Judgment and Decree are then sent to the court for approval.
Uncontested divorces don’t take long and can be finalized in as few as 60 days from the day of filing.
When the divorcing parties do not agree on all the issues, including spousal maintenance, child custody and support, parenting time, and division of property and debt, their case may go to trial.
A contested divorce begins with one spouse (petitioner) serving a Summons and Petition to the other spouse (respondent). These documents are meant to notify the respondent that the divorce process has been initiated. They also mention what the petitioner is asking for in the divorce. These documents must be personally served to the respondent, who may take 30 days to respond.
Both parties then have a certain period of time to exchange information, which is called discovery. During discovery, the spouses and their attorneys request and review important information, such as financial records. They also identify the issues to be resolved and work towards a settlement.
Before the trial begins, the court typically requires both spouses to explore other methods to resolve their domestic disputes. These methods may include mediation and arbitration. If they don’t work, the court conducts a pre-trial hearing to encourage a settlement. If the case doesn’t settle, it may go to trial for the judge to resolve the disputes.
Working with seasoned Minnesota attorney with experience in courtroom trials can be extremely beneficial in such cases. Such a lawyer will not only advocate effectively for you, but also prevent your divorce case from becoming unnecessarily antagonistic and costly.
Reaching an Agreement Is Vital
As soon as the divorcing couple reaches a mutually-agreeable settlement over all their issues, like spousal maintenance and child support at any point of the proceedings, their lawyers can draft an agreement. This agreement will need to be signed by the judge. It will then become the Judgment and Decree for the divorce.
Usually, the proposed decree is filed by the attorney of one of the parties. The other party and their attorney then reviews it and proposes changes, if required. When all parties have signed the decree, it is submitted to the judge for final approval.
Once the divorce decree is signed by the judge, the courts enter judgment. Both parties are then notified that the divorce proceedings have officially concluded.
It is natural for divorcing spouses to think about how long the divorce process will last once initiated. However, there is no fixed answer to this question. The duration depends of each unique marital situation as several variables have bearings on the divorce’s length. Hopefully, the above information has helped you understand the various factors that impact the tenure of the divorce process.
Hire an Experienced Divorce Lawyer in Brainerd
The divorce process can be physically and emotionally taxing. A well-practiced attorney can make it easier on you by guiding you properly and settling your case as early as possible. Call Carlson & Sons today and discuss you case with our experienced Divorce Lawyer in Brainerd. Get in touch with us at (855) 976-2444 for a free consultation. You can also contact us through our website.