If you have decided to get a divorce, no doubt you have already experienced enough stress and complications. Now that you are filing for divorce to move forward as quickly and efficiently as possible, we will help you.
To get divorced, often referred to as a ‘dissolution of marriage,’ in Minnesota, you will have to fill out and file different documents whether you’re using a lawyer or not.
What Documents are Required to File for Divorce in Minnesota?
Before you file a divorce in Minnesota, you must choose the proper divorce forms. If you have an uncontested divorce, there are two primary documents to choose from.
- Joint Divorce Petition with Children – You will choose this divorce form if you have children with your spouse.
- Joint Divorce Petition without Children – If you do not have any children, you will use the joint divorce petition without children.
In case you are having a contested divorce and do not agree on everything, you will choose the divorce petition with children or the divorce petition without children.
Other documents required to submit when filing for divorce include:
- Financial Documentations – If you have children with your spouse or require spousal support (also called alimony), then the court requires you to submit your financial documents. This document might include recent tax returns and paychecks. If you do not have children and do not need spousal support, you will not be required to file your financial documents.
- Legal Description of Property – You must include a detailed description of all real estate property owned by you, your partner, and both of you together. All these properties should be described in detail, whether you obtained the property before or during the marriage.
- Affidavit of Service – This document proves that the court papers were sent and received by the second party to the courthouse. It also has all the details about when, how, where, and to whom the papers were delivered.
- Answers and Counterpetition – When you send the divorce papers to your spouse, they are required to send a solution or a counter-petition back. They are the legal response to summons and petition for divorce.
How to Obtain Divorce Documents in Minnesota?
To efficiently and quickly obtain the divorce documents, there are two ways:
- The Local County – You can visit your area’s local county and request the necessary divorce forms. Fill them out and submit them back.
- Online – Another option is to fill out the necessary forms online, print them out, and submit them to the court.
Many online divorce services can help make filling out the paperwork easy and fast. Using the appropriate platform, you answer questions about your marriage, after which the system prepares the necessary divorce documents for you. It is very convenient and costs less than a lawyer’s fees.
If you are the one who initiated the divorce, then you are called the “petitioner,” and your spouse, who will receive your divorce papers, is the “respondent.” The divorce process starts with four necessary documents. They are:
- The summons and petition for divorce
- Child support financial affidavit
- The dissolution certificate
- The representation certificates
You are required to show a representation certificate even if you are representing yourself.
The respondent receives the petitioner’s summons and petition. In response to that, the respondent must prepare a document titled “answer and verification” if they disagree with anything the petitioner put in their reasons and demands for the divorce.
Depending on the local court, the petitioner might need to submit some more documents, but most courts demand the certificate of dissolution, certificate of representation, summons, and petition. You can consult the clerk in your county and ensure that the forms you’re submitting are sufficient.
Filing the Forms
When your papers are ready, make two copies of all the documents, one for yourself and one to send to your spouse. When you file the forms in court, you are required to file the originals.
Ask to file the documents in your local court. When filing, you must follow all the grounds for divorce and point them in the county where you or your spouse lives. In Minnesota, to file a divorce, you must have lived in the state for at least 180 days.
In the process of filing, you are required to pay a filing fee unless you fill out a fee waiver affidavit which is known as an Affidavit to Proceed in Forma Pauperis. The court reviews this form, and if they approve, you will not have to pay the filing fees.
Once all documents are stamped, signed, and submitted, a file is created for you. You are then required to serve your spouse with a copy of all divorce documents.
Serving the Forms
Serving the forms is an essential part of the American legal system, which ensures that every party knows what is going on and has an opportunity to prove or share their point of view. You are required to serve the forms to your spouse through one of the following means:
- If your spouse is going pro se divorce, you need to serve them by mailing the documents to their address via the proper postage system.
- You can also serve their lawyer at the court.
- Asking a sheriff or a professional process server is another way to serve your spouse with the proper documents. They are then required to fill out the affidavit of service that you file at the court.
- If you are trying to serve someone unreachable, for example, they are in the army or jail, then other rules apply that you can find out about in your local court.
Child Custody and Spousal Support
If you have children, you and your spouse are required to come up with an agreement about their custody and child support. These documents are also required by the court when you file for divorce.
If your spouse needs spousal support (alimony), you must agree and mention the required amount and time the spousal support will remain in the documents. Sometimes during the trial, if a judge sees fit, they will grant spousal support.
Divorce decree refers to the document showing that you and your spouse are now divorced, and it details all the terms and conditions of the divorce. When the court judge signs this document, your divorce is finalized.
If your divorce is uncontested, you can get an easy and fast divorce right after serving the divorce documents. You can have a more affordable divorce by going for a pro-se or DIY divorce without an attorney. In an uncontested divorce, you won’t be called into court for a hearing. You can quickly get the divorce decree signed by the court judge. However, if your divorce is contested, you should hire a lawyer and may need to attend several trials and hearings before your divorce is finalized.
We know that divorces can be sudden and a very emotional time, but you can contact us to make the entire process easier. We can help you go through the complicated process easily and quickly.