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What is a Contested Divorce in Minnesota?

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In Minnesota, a contested divorce is when you and your spouse cannot agree on resolving issues like child custody, property division, and spousal support. When your divorce is contested, it’s best to seek legal advice to protect yourself and your children. The dedicated family law attorneys at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., can help.

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Common Issues in a Contested Divorce

You might agree on all major issues when you and your spouse decide to end your marriage. If so, it is an uncontested divorce. However, when you do not agree on all the issues, the divorce is contested.

Division of Property and Financial Assets

One potential issue of a contested divorce in Minnesota is splitting the financial assets fairly and equitably. Your agreement should account for both spouse’s individual circumstances. The following are some of the major assets spouses must consider:

  • The home or primary residence
  • All other real estate, such as vacation properties or secondary residences
  • Personal property, such as vehicles, family heirlooms, jewelry, and electronics
  • Pensions and retirement accounts
  • Cash assets and investments

Asset division might be complicated, and one role of a divorce attorney is to confirm that the other spouse has disclosed all of their assets. Whether an item is personal or marital property can be at issue during divorce negotiations.

Spousal Support or Maintenance

The division of assets is separate from spousal support, also called alimony or maintenance. Spousal maintenance provides periodic payments from one spouse to the other in the following circumstances:

  • One spouse will be unable to support themselves at the standard of living they had during the marriage due to a lack of assets or employment.
  • One spouse is caring for a child with a disability, preventing employment.

Spousal support is not always indefinite. The support might be terminated if the receiving spouse can reestablish their prior standard of living through employment, education, or another route.

What Is the Process of Getting a Contested Divorce in Minnesota?

The contested divorce process begins with a form called a Petition for Divorce. Minnesota courts recommend you speak with an attorney before taking this step to secure your legal rights and best support the interests of your children.

You will fill out the “with children” forms if you and your spouse have minor children, one of you is pregnant, or a child was born during the marriage from another relationship. You will use the “without children” forms if these circumstances don’t apply.

Once you file these documents with the court, you and your spouse might engage in a process with a neutral third party to see if you can reach an agreement. In Minnesota, these are called Early Neutral Evaluations, or ENEs. A financial ENE, or FENE, focuses on financial matters, while a social ENE, or SENE, focuses on child custody issues.

Several other mechanisms exist for you and your spouse to resolve your contested divorce outside of court. Mediation involves discussing major issues in front of a trained, neutral third party assisted by the lawyers on both sides.

How Long Does a Contested Divorce Take?

The time it takes to resolve a contested divorce depends on many factors. The process length varies from county to county. Also, no two cases are alike, and they follow unique trajectories. Additionally, the more disagreements between you and your spouse on divorce terms, the longer everything will likely take.

Trust the Lawyers at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A.

Dissolution of marriage is never easy. If you are seeking a divorce or have received a petition for divorce from your spouse, contact our divorce lawyers at Milavetz Injury Law, P.A., online or call us at 763-560-0000.

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