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Answering your common questions about divorce

Divorce is a common occurrence, but it still remains a mystery to many Minnesota couples, particularly those who are going through a divorce for the first time. How does the process work? Which parent gets custody of the child? How is marital property divided? These are just a few of the questions that couples have going into a divorce.

Many couples wonder how long the divorce process lasts. There is no one-size-fits-all answer to this questions. It depends on the parties' ability to negotiate as well as the issues involved. Most divorces are resolved within 6-18 months, while few may take anywhere from a few days to a few years.

Minnesota is a no-fault state, so you don't need to prove any wrongdoing in order to file a petition for divorce. A divorce can happen at any time; no separation period is required. The other spouse may not contest the divorce and the court will not require marriage counseling. The role of the court is to resolve divorce legal issues as expeditiously as possible.

Property division can be a thorny issue. What if an asset - such as a car or home - is in one person's name only? Does that person automatically get to keep that asset in a divorce? Not necessarily. The court will look at how that asset was maintained during the marriage and if the other spouse put in labor or money into it.

Child custody issues are also contentious. Can a child pick who he or she wants to live with? The child's wishes will be taken into consideration, but ultimately, the court decides based on the best interests of the child.

These are common questions and answers about the divorce process, but since each relationship is unique, you may have questions of your own. If your marriage is on the rocks and you are considering divorce as an option, make sure your rights are protected.

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