Dakota County Divorce Attorney
File for a No-Fault Divorce in Minnesota
A divorce has the potential to affect a couple’s emotional and financial wellbeing. At Martha Sullivan, Attorney at Law we understand the difficulty of this legal process and will do everything we can to take as much of the burden off your shoulders as possible.
We do this by providing the most beneficial legal services and guidance to every client going through a divorce. With over 13 years of experience handling family law cases, our lawyer is well-versed in all aspects of the divorce process and will effectively advocate for your rights and best interests.
To speak with our compassionate divorce attorney in Dakota County, call our Hastings office at (651) 998-7589 today.
To begin the divorce process in Minnesota, one party must be a resident of the state for at least 3 months before filing. Additionally, the party seeking the divorce must file a petition for this legal action with the state and serve a copy to the other party. Our Dakota County divorce lawyer can help you draft an effective petition that covers all the necessary requirements to begin the divorce process.
Qualifications for Summary Dissolution of Marriage
Some couples may qualify for a summary dissolution of marriage proceeding. This legal action is a quicker, streamlined process for obtaining a divorce.
To qualify, a couple must:
- Not share any living minor children;
- Have been married for less than 8 years;
- Not share any real estate properties;
- Not have debts greater than $8,000 (excluding vehicle liens);
- Not have a shared property value greater than $25,000;
- Not have a separate property value greater than $25,000 and/or
- Not have a history of marital domestic abuse.
If a couple qualifies for this process, they can only obtain a divorce decree by filing a sworn declaration that must be notarized by a third party. Our attorney can help you determine whether you qualify for a summary dissolution and, if so, effectively guide you through this process.
Is Minnesota a No-Fault Divorce State?
Yes, Minnesota is a ‘no-fault’ state which means that neither spouse needs to place blame on the other as a reason for the divorce.
This does not mean that a judge will automatically grant you a divorce, you will need to show that an irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship has occurred. If one party denies this breakdown, then the court must consider all relevant factors that caused one party to file for the divorce.
Examples of Irretrievable Breakdowns
The idea of proving to a judge that your marriage is irretrievably broken may seem initially daunting, however it is not that difficult.
For example, you can show the court:
- That you and your spouse have lived in separate residences for 180 days or more
- Evidence of severe marital discord that negatively affects one or both parties
- There is no reasonable prospect or expectation for reconciliation
- Your spouse created an unsafe living environment, either physically or emotionally
Either party’s testimony is enough to prove the irretrievable breakdown of a marriage.
For example, the party seeking the divorce may explain how the couple sought therapy and/or a legal separation before deciding upon divorce as their final course of action. In addition, you do not need permission from your spouse to obtain a no-fault divorce. If he or she does not reply once served, you can still get the divorce via default judgement.
Do You Need a Lawyer to Get Divorced?
The state of Minnesota does not require legal representation when filing for a divorce. Still, it is in your best interests to consult with a lawyer to identify your options.
If you are not a legal expert, you may misinterpret laws or statutes that are specific to Minnesota. Hiring a lawyer can also reduce the stress associated with the excess paperwork involved. Additionally, if your spouse hires an attorney, you will want to as well.
How Is Property Division Determined in a Divorce?
When completing a divorce, a couple must divide all marital property. This can either be done by the couple (if they can agree upon how they would like to split property) or by a judge.
If the judge is responsible for dividing property, they commonly make these decisions based on:
- Marital length
- Any prior marriages
- Each party’s age and health
- Each party’s source of income
- Each party’s earning potential
- Each party’s contributions to the marriage
Property divided during the divorce process can only be shared property acquired during the marriage.
Example of Property Division
For example, if a couple bought a home while they were married, the value or property itself can be divided between both parties. However, if one person bought the home before the marriage or during the divorce process, it is considered solely the property of the party who purchased it and can not legally be divided.
Helping Clients Dissolve Their Marriage
We understand the complexities of the divorce process. From navigating the legal aspect to supporting our clients’ emotional needs, we are dedicated to helping resolve their case. Our lawyer is here to offer sound and skilled services to all our clients.
“I would rehire Martha in a second because she is professional.”- Former Client
“She's easy to communicate with and gets information back to you in a timely manner.”- Former Client
“We have always appreciated your assistance.”- Former Client