Family Law FAQ

Protecting Your Rights and Interests

At Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., we have successfully represented numerous clients in divorce and related matters. Attorney DeAnne Dulas has experience in a wide range of divorce cases, ranging from uncontested to high-conflict divorces.

Some of the most common family law questions we are asked appear below. You probably have questions about your situation. In a free consultation, DeAnne Dulas can answer your questions and provide guidance regarding your options.

Contact Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., to schedule a free consultation with a lawyer.

Family Law FAQ

Do I or my spouse need to prove grounds for the divorce?

Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, so no grounds for the divorce need to be stated in the divorce petition. The fact that one of the parties wants a divorce is considered sufficient evidence that the marital relationship is irretrievably broken.

Can the responding spouse contest the divorce?

No. The divorce action will proceed, though there may be disputes that need to be resolved concerning child custody, parenting time and property division.

Must there be a separation period before the divorce can proceed?

Not in Minnesota. In fact, the spouses can continue to live under the same roof during the divorce process, if their differences are such that conflicts can be avoided.

Will the judge require us to attend marriage counseling sessions before our divorce will be granted?

No. It is not the court's responsibility to try and save your marriage. The judge's goal will be to accomplish the divorce as quickly and efficiently as possible, provided that all outstanding issues are resolved in a just manner. The court will focus on the issues of child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal maintenance and property division.

If property is just in my name, is it just mine?

Not necessarily. Whether property is marital or nonmarital property depends on how and when it was acquired and who maintained it during the marriage. In other words, whose money and labor was used to keep up that property?

Can the children choose which parent to live with?

Not conclusively. Courts in Minnesota always decide child custody and visitation matters in a way that is in the "best interest" of the children. In a particular case, the court may consider the wishes of a teenage child in making its decision, but it will likely be only one of the deciding factors.

If my ex-spouse is behind on child support payments, can I deny access for parenting time?

No. Child support and child custody (parenting time) are separate issues. You may be in contempt of the court if you fail to pay child support as ordered. You may also be in contempt of the court if you fail to allow the other parent to exercise his or her visitation rights (parenting time) according to the court order.

How long does the divorce process take?

Every case is unique, so there is no one answer to this question. A divorce in Minnesota can be completed in just a few days, or it may take two years or more, depending on the issues. Most divorces can be accomplished in six to 18 months.

If my spouse and I agree on how we will divide assets and where children will live, can we just get a "do-it-yourself" divorce on our own?

A joint petition to dissolve a marriage can be a straightforward and cost-effective way to get a divorce in such a case. However, before you take action, we urge you to take advantage of an attorney's offer of a free consultation. Be careful that you are not omitting any important steps or forgetting any critical assets, such as retirement accounts.

Will a permanent spousal maintenance order remain unchanged and in place until retirement or until death?

A permanent spousal maintenance order in Minnesota remains in place indefinitely until and unless a modification is obtained. A recipient or paying ex-spouse can file a motion asking the court to consider increasing, decreasing or ceasing a spousal maintenance order at any time, assuming that it is a permanent order.

St. Paul, Hastings, Woodbury · Divorce Attorney Serving the Twin Cities

To learn more about the divorce process and how we can help you, contact Sheridan & Dulas, P.A. You can reach us by phone at 651-968-1249 or 800-491-9983.