Family Law FAQ
Feb. 9, 2022
At some point in your life, you will likely need the assistance of a family law attorney. Whether you are going through a divorce, writing up a prenuptial agreement, modifying a child custody agreement, or negotiating asset division, I can help you understand your options. Some choices can be challenging, and it is essential to know how to approach them.
I started my firm, Michael Fink Law, PLLC, to help those in my community navigate these life decisions in a way that benefits the whole family, and I pride myself on achieving the best outcomes and keeping conflicts at a minimum. If you are in Minneapolis, Minnesota, or the neighboring areas of St. Paul, Edina, Minnetonka, or St. Louis Park and need legal assistance, call me today to set up a consultation.
I Got Served with Divorce Papers.
What Are My Next Steps?
If your spouse has served you with divorce papers, you have 30 days to respond. If this is unexpected, try your best to remain calm and not act out of anger. You may choose to agree to the terms listed, or you can file a counter-petition outlining your requests. If you ignore it, your spouse can request a default hearing where they are more likely to be granted a divorce under their terms.
How Long Will It Take to
Get Divorced in Minnesota?
There is no set time that a divorce has to take place. If both partners agree to the terms of the divorce and the split is generally amicable, it may take four to six weeks to be final. There is also no waiting period after you file a divorce in Minnesota, so it can proceed fast if the two parties are willing. More often than not, however, you will need to allow time to negotiate back and forth and gather documentation. If there is considerable conflict between the two parties, this process can be long and drawn out. And, the longer it takes, the more expensive it will be when you factor in attorney fees.
When is Mediation a Good Option?
When you work with a mediator, both parties come together to make choices jointly, the mediator's function is to remain impartial, direct the conversation to keep it on track, and ensure that both people can voice their opinions. Mediation is often a good option for divorcing couples who are generally on good terms with one another but may need help working through some hard decisions. It is also ideal for those without many assets or children and is looking for an easier, less-expensive divorce process.
Who Gets to Keep the Home During a Divorce?
There is no law about who keeps the marital home unless it was addressed in a pre-or postnuptial agreement. If the house was purchased by both spouses, it will be treated like all other assets and be split up as part of the divorce proceedings. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state which means that assets will be divided fairly but not necessarily equally. This could mean that one spouse keeps the home and "trades" another asset like a retirement account, that one spouse buys the other out of their share, or that the house is sold and the proceeds are split. In general, if both parties agree to a specific asset division a judge will approve it.
How Do I Make (or Change)
a Child Visitation Schedule?
If you are divorcing with children, you will have to establish a child custody agreement that will include a child visitation schedule outlining when each parent will spend time with the child. Minnesota, like most states, approaches these decisions with the best interests of the child in mind, which typically means both parents should have regular and meaningful contact with their child. If a couple cannot agree to a parenting schedule, a judge will decide for them. After this schedule has been approved by a court, you have to request a modification from the court to change it. It is essential that you follow the schedule and do not attempt to withhold visitation except in extreme cases when you believe the child to be in danger.
Will I Have to Pay Alimony?
Alimony (also called spousal support or spousal maintenance) is never automatically awarded after a divorce, though the two parties or a judge may deem it necessary. Alimony is usually awarded temporarily and is given to the spouse who is not able to provide for themselves immediately following a divorce. Many factors are taken into account when determining the amount of alimony and the length of payment. Some of these factors include the financial standing of each partner, the marital standard of living, how much time one spouse needs to obtain employment or education, each spouse's physical and emotional needs, or the length of the marriage.
How Skilled Legal Counsel Can Help
For help with these and any other questions and concerns you have about family law, talking with a skilled attorney can help. Whether it is to answer a few questions to ensure you are on the right track or help with every step of the divorce process, I can help you achieve your goals. Get the experienced legal guidance you need in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and contact my firm, Michael Fink Law, PLLC, today. I also serve clients in St. Paul, Edina, Minnetonka, St. Louis Park, Bloomington, Wayzata, the entire Twin Cities Metropolitan Area and Greater Minnesota.