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Minnesota courts offer better process for divorcing couples

In 2012 nearly 17,000 couples filed for divorce in Minnesota courts. In addition, studies show that over 40 percent of first marriages end in divorce. The rate is even higher for successive marriages. While many of these cases are amiable and carry on with little court involvement, some become cases the judge will see time and again for the rest of his or her career.

In these difficult divorce cases, the couple no longer cooperates or communicates about the continuing financial and family responsibilities they share. A judge must mediate, supervise and enforce these responsibilities for them.

To lower the number of these cases and to provide a better process for couples who divorce each year, many courts in Minnesota have put into practice a program of early court intervention, ongoing supervision and impartial assessment.

Shortly after a divorce proceeding is filed the couple is scheduled for a case management meeting with a judge. The judge then provides the couple with a summary of the divorce process, explains the various aspects of the divorce proceedings, and determines what issues are involved in the case. Couples are informed of an opportunity to meet with experienced attorneys, psychologists and other professionals to help them understand how custody, parenting time, child support, and other issues like property division are figured out. The couples are also advised of who can help resolve these matters without costly proceedings.

This new approach to divorce procedures has been successful. Close to 70 percent of the cases scheduled for the initial case management meeting are either settled at that meeting or the couple choose to participate in an impartial assessment process. This program has been well received by couples, lawyers, judges and court employees because it reduces the time, expense and emotional anguish associated with divorce.

Whether you are dealing with a situation involving a Minnesota divorce, property division, custody or child support, hiring an attorney who has the experience and courtroom skills required to represent your interests in divorce court is very important.

Source:, "Judge Edward Lynch: Until divorce do us part" Edward Lynch, Jun. 06, 2013

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