Marriage, divorce, adoption and other family law issues all require court involvement. Each of these issues require individuals to make critical personal decisions, and it is important to keep in mind these personal decisions have significant legal implications; therefore you should consult with an attorney when dealing with family law issues. Although the Minnesota Judicial Branch will provide you with many of the forms necessary to assist you in dealing with your family law issue, advice from an experienced attorney is beneficial to help assure that when you make those critical decisions you are informed of your rights and obligations under the law. Many decisions made in completing forms, such as the Marital Termination Agreement, may have a permanent impact and can never be changed; therefore we strongly recommend you consult with an attorney before filing any papers with the Court.
Among the issues you could discuss with your attorney include:
What are the legal consequences of getting married?
What are pre-marital agreements, antenuptial agreements, and prenuptial agreements and how do I know if I need one?
Does Minnesota recognize common law marriage?
Divorce and Separation:
What is a legal separation?
What is a legal divorce?
What is a no-fault divorce?
Is a dissolution of marriage the same as divorce?
What are the requirements for filing a petition for divorce?
Can I have my name changed as part of the dissolution proceedings?
Is counseling required before a divorce?
How long does it take to get a divorce?
May the provisions in a divorce decree be changed afterwards?
Can my spouse be ordered to pay my attorney fees?
What is a temporary order?
Can I get a temporary order to help me out while the divorce is pending?
Are there any tax consequences resulting from a marriage dissolution?
Can I continue my health care coverage after divorce?
Can my spouse be required to keep life insurance in force after the divorce?
Divorce and Property Division:
How is property divided in a divorce?
How is the value of property determined?
Who pays for appraisals of property?
Is property always divided 50/50?
What if I owned property before I was married?
Am I entitled to a portion of my spouse’s retirement benefits?
Can I still live in the house or homestead after the divorce?
Who is responsible for joint and individual debt after we separate?
What happens if my spouse declares bankruptcy?
Divorce and Maintenance or Support:
What is the difference between maintenance and alimony?
How is the amount determined?
For how many years do I need to be married in order to qualify for alimony?
Custody of Children:
Does custody always go to just one parent?
What is the difference between legal and physical custody?
How does the Court decide whether to grant joint or sole custody?
When parents cannot reach an agreement on custody what standards do Courts use to decide with whom the children should live?
Will a Court listen to a child’s preferences regarding custody?
Can I move out of the state or country if I have custody of the children?
How is child support determined?
What are the child support guidelines?
Does my spouse have to contribute to child care expenses?
Can I terminate visitation if I am not being paid the support I am owed?
How do I determine who my child’s (paternity) father is?
Can I get child support if I never married my child’s father?
When can a child support order be modified?
How does income withholding work?
Who can claim the child as a “dependent” for tax purposes?
Who is responsible for providing health care?
Visitation and Parenting Time:
What is parenting time?
What can I do if I am being denied the right to see my child?
My partner and I are not married. If we buy property what are my rights and obligations?
What is a co-habitation agreement? How do I know if I need one?
How do I adopt the children of my spouse?
What is a harassment restraining order (Order for Protection)?
Do I need an attorney?