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Divorce

Ending a marriage is a tough decision, and the process of getting divorced can create a hundred even more difficult decisions. How do you resolve all of these complex issues? How do you know if you are getting your fair share? How do you stand your ground without an emotionally and financially draining courtroom fight?

At the law firm of Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., we work to demystify the divorce process by giving our clients the answers and perspective they need to understand their options, make meaningful decisions based upon the facts and the law, and engage in proactive and productive negotiations to avoid costly legal proceedings. We believe that by empowering our clients with information we enable them to make smart decisions for a positive future.

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Knowledge Is power

Demystifying The Divorce Process

The thought of going through a divorce can be frightening and intimidating.  Making sure you have the right attorney to help you can make all the difference. You need an attorney who is knowledgeable and with whom you feel comfortable talking and asking questions. At Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., we strive to create an space where our clients feel comfortable reaching out with their questions, concerns, and goals.

We want to make sure you understand all of your options, the pros and cons of those options, and you have the information you need to decide how to make the best decisions you can for your family. We believe our experienced legal advice and skills can help you protect yourself and your family and result in favorable outcomes for you in both the short and long-term.

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Trusted Representation

Protecting Your Interests

At Sheridan & Dulas, P.A., we understand the divorce process is not a "one size fits all" endeavor. We start by helping you understand not just the "what" of getting divorced but also that many different ways in which a divorce can be accomplished. We help you explore and understand the variety of ways of you can reach a resolution of your issues.

When possible, our lawyers work with you to select different cooperative dispute resolution techniques to reach agreements and bring in experts to help resolve issues. We also realize that sometimes the resolution of your issues cannot be accomplished cooperatively. Sometimes the issues themselves are too complex or perhaps the other party is difficult or not open to an amicable process. Sometimes divorces are a  combination of all of these factors.

Our lawyers are experienced in all types of divorce proceedings and will steadfastly  advocate for you regardless of the process you choose, including any aspect of your divorce that is resolved at court.

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Reviews & tESTIMONIALS

Reviews For Sheridan & Dulas, P.A.

See what our clients are saying.

Kristin

Thanks DeAnne, you're the best! Thanks for everything, you are the wonderful that has touched my life.

Jen A.

I friend recommended I talk with Andrew Hunstad after my first attorney stopped communicating with me. I decided to hire him to take over my case.. Andrew was very professional and responsive to my calls and emails. From the beginning, Andrew listened to me. I told him what was important to me and he did not forget. Divorce is not much fun but finding someone who can explain the law, communicate my concerns, and deliver made it easier. Take my advice, talk to him before you hire anyone else.

Bev

I was encouraged to hire an attorney for my divorce, I didn’t know where to begin looking. I found Andrew through the Ramsey County Bar Association. I did an initial consultation with him and hired him on the spot. Andrew is knowledgeable, helped me understand all the legalities. He works hard to be fair and provide an equitable outcome. I would recommend him and have recommended him to several people.

Vanessa

Andrew Hunstad and the staff were helpful and responsive to all of my questions and concerns. They made a very difficult time for me as quick and as painless as possible. He is a real professional and made all legal matters a walk in the park for me. From the free consultation, all the way until the finalization Andrew and the staff were extremely professional and knowledgeable about the process. Highly recommend!

Linda

Andrew was methodical and calm and wise and dug in to get the complete information, but remained calm and friendly and available to me as if I was his only client. In the end, he went to court without me even there. I met him once, briefly; which in hindsight seems outrageous for a person who's legal work amounts to several million dollars worth of settlements. I couldn't be more happy with what Andrew accomplished for me and for how kind he was doing it. I would highly recommend him to anyone needing a divorce attorney.

Alan

Mr. Hunstad was both helpful and patient with me. He walked me through my employee contract step by step. While going through each part of the contract, he was able to put everything into laymen's terms if I didn't fully understand the technical aspects. He also had a great grasp of current laws, both state and federal. Overall I would highly recommend him based on both knowledge and communication.

Kari

Andrew Hunstad is honest, truthful, knowdependable, always responds asap, and has made my divorce case the best experience I've ever had with an Attorney. With absolutely no thought I could get what was fair from the divorce, Andrew made sure I got what was fair and I'm extremely pleased and thankful. Hands down, Sheridan & Dulas is the #1 place to go to for your divorce case. If you're able to, ask for a consultation with Andrew Hunstad... you won't regret it!

Anonymous

Andrew was always very responsive to my inquiries and was able to complete my divorce in only 6 weeks.

L.N. & T.N.

We wanted to sincerely thank you for all of your expertise over the past few years. We will be forever appreciative of the patience you exhibited toward us. We could not have done it without you. Your professional manner impressed us every step of the way. Thank you for taking such good care of us throughout a difficult process. You are outstanding at what you do.

Judie T.

Feeling lost, with the pending divorce after 19 years of marriage, I reached out to Andrew T. Hunstad of Sheridan & Dulas, P.A. He gave me the best advice " Get a good therapist because I am not. But I am an excellent attorney." He had my back through the entire process. And that was worth every dollar I spent.

Experienced Counsel

Experienced Counsel & Advocacy

The attorneys at Sheridan & Dulas, P.A. are experienced in litigation based and cooperative divorces. We adjust our style and strategy to meet the particular needs of your situation. Our advocacy starts with the firm's value to always provide you with honest advice and information, whether you want to hear it or not. We will not lie to you about the strength of your position and drive the case forward to trial just to line our own pockets. We pride ourselves on providing the honest legal advice you need to understand what battles are worth fighting and which are unlikely to achieve your goals. By providing you with the information you need, we give you the tools to make decisions for your own life and your own family.

Contact Sheridan & Dulas, P.A. by calling 651-686-8800 now. Our family law attorneys practice across the Twin Cities, including Dakota, Washington, Hennepin, Scott, Carver, Ramsey, Goodhue, and Anoka counties, and in greater Minnesota.

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The Minnesota Divorce Process

Minnesota is a “no-fault” divorce state. What this means is that the court will not need to consider who is “at fault” for the marriage ending, and this does not have to be proven in court. To file for divorce, you simply must petition the court for a divorce and cite “irreconcilable differences” between spouses.

To begin the process, most often one spouse is served with a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The Summons is a legal notice you are now involved in a divorce proceeding and must abide by certain rules. The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage provides a brief summary of all the matters at issue in your divorce. Eventually, these documents will be filed with the Court to give the Court jurisdiction to make decisions while the divorce is pending and complete the divorce either by agreement of the parties or after a trial.

Working with an attorney helps streamline this process, ensures all of the necessary information is included and all of the required formalities of service have been properly accomplished. Your attorney will work with you to gather information and documentation needed to resolve the issues in your divorce, including information only in the possession of the other party. Even if the other party does not want to cooperate, they are required to participate in this information sharing process, called Discovery.

If both spouses hire divorce attorneys, those attorneys will work to exchange information as needed or required. From there the attention will focus on trying to negotiate a complete resolution and/or preparing to evidence to present to a judge at a trial. The types of issues involved in a divorce include property division, child support, child custody, parenting time, spousal maintenance, taxes,  and other disputed terms and issues. If these issues can be resolved out of court, the parties can submit a Marital Termination Agreement or a Stipulated Judgment and Decree reciting the terms of their agreement. A judge will review the document to ensure it is fair, just and equitable in its premises and in the best interest of minor children, if any are involved.

If the parties are not able to resolve their disputes, disputes during the marriage may be brought before the Court in motions and disputes remaining at the end of the proceeding will be resolved by a Judgment and Decree issued by the Court after a trial. 

About Uncontested Divorces In Minnesota

Because Minnesota is a No-Fault state, the divorce itself can not be contested by the other party. What can be contested is how the components of the divorce are resolved. This will typically include issues such as:

  • Child support, medical expenses, and health/dental insurance for kids
  • Parenting time, including child custody and where children will live
  • Tax implications, such as credits and exemptions
  • Division of all marital property, assets, and debts
  • Spousal Maintenance (sometimes referred to as Alimony)

If you and your spouse can agree about how to resolve all or some of these issues, we can enter into a binding agreement about those terms which will be included in the Court's final order called a Judgment and Decree. Any issues not resolved by agreement are resolved by a trial. At trial, a Judge will hear evidence and issue an Order deciding all of the issues which remain in dispute.

Divorce And Property Division

In Minnesota, the divorce process seeks to divide equitably the marital property between the parties. Much of the time that means the marital property is divided equally.  It does not matter in whose name the property is titled. All property accumulated during the marriage is considered Marital Property. Any asset in which either party has an interest prior to the marriage can be non-marital property. It is the burden of the party asking that the property be treated as Non-marital property to prove it.

To begin the process of property division, your team at Sheridan & Dulas will start with a comprehensive inventory of assets and liabilities. Broadly speaking, these can be considered marital or non-marital property:

Marital property is any property acquired during the marriage, including income, real estate, personal property, cars, and so on. Everything is presumed to be marital property. This will be divided during the divorce process.

Non-marital property is any property acquired before marriage, after the date of valuation, or by gift or inheritance during the marriage.

The process of determining what is and is not marital property can be difficult and depends heavily on the documentation you have or to which you have access.  At Sheridan and Dulas, P.A. we understand the process and will perform the analysis or recommend the right type of financial expert to complete the calculation. Depending on the situation, these assets can include:

  • Homes
  • Vacation homes, cabins, or other real estate
  • Retirement accounts and pensions
  • Business interests
  • Cars, trucks, boats, and other vehicles
  • Personal property and collections
  • Debts and liabilities

High-Asset Divorces

Divorce can be particularly complicated when one or both spouses are high earners or have extensive assets. This may include stocks and stock options, business entities, multiple commercial and residential properties, and pensions or other compensation.

The team at Sheridan & Dulas, P.A. can assist with both contested and uncontested high-asset divorces. We will work closely with you to ensure the best possible outcome, protect your financial future, and ensure you and your children can continue to live comfortably after the conclusion of divorce proceedings.

Frequently Asked Questions About The Divorce Process

I Think i am ready to get divorced. what should i do?

In most situations, you will have to answer some difficult questions before engaging in the formal divorce process. The most fundamental question — which can involve various considerations — is whether you are ready to divorce your spouse. Situations occur where one spouse has the other served with divorce papers without any discussion, but in general, considerable conversation and soul-searching precede the decision to seek divorce.

Just a few of the many factors to consider are:

  • Whether you believe the marriage is irreparably broken
  • Whether this is a thoughtful decision or emotional knee-jerk reaction
  • Why you have decided now is the right time for a divorce
  • Whether you are emotionally prepared for the conflict that might accompany the divorce process
  • Whether you want to separate legal or live separately during the process

There are typically financial considerations that accompany a decision for one spouse to leave the marital home while a divorce is pending. You will need to decide if you want to file for a legal separation before you divorce. One of our attorneys can discuss this further with you, but legal separation is not a necessary step before filing for divorce in Minnesota. Often a legal separation will simply prolong the time before you are divorced and cost you and your spouse additional money. Some couples legally separate for religious reasons.

What is the next step Once I Have Decided to File for divorce or After I Have Been Served?

The documents that must be filed as part of a divorce are somewhat extensive, and with or without representation, you will need to gather all the required information. Information you will need includes:

  • Full legal names and current addresses of you and your spouse
  • Date you or your spouse moved from the marital home
  • Dates of birth and Social Security numbers for you and your spouse
  • Full legal names, dates of birth and Social Security numbers for all children of the marriage
  • Date and location you were married, including the county

Documents you will need include:

  • Income documents for both spouses, including tax filings and pay stubs, going back at least three years
  • Copies of a prenuptial agreement, if one exists
  • Copies of divorce judgments for either spouse
  • A list of marital assets and debts
  • Any contracts for joint credit, including mortgages
  • Bank account numbers and statements of both spouses held jointly or separately

You will need all this information, and possibly additional information if you are attempting to file on your own. An attorney will need copies of these documents, and you should retain the originals in a secure location. Your spouse will be required to compile the same information.

What Are the summons and petition for divorce?

If your spouse has already had someone serve you with divorce papers, you will have received a summons. This is a document that will be provided with the petition for divorce that will instruct you how long you have to file an answer to the petition. If you are the one initiating the divorce, you will have a summons and petition for divorce served upon your spouse.

These are the documents that begin the divorce process, and the spouse who files the original petition will set forth his or her requests for how he or she wants the court to handle certain matters that a divorce judgment decided. The petition will indicate how you (or your spouse) want the court to divide the marital propertyand debts, your requests regarding custody and visitation (also called parenting time) and sets forth any child support or spousal support (sometimes called alimony) being requested.

Whichever spouse received the summons will be required to file a response to the petition within the time set forth within the summons. Within this response, you (or your spouse) will respond to each request you have made to the court as to whether he or she agrees with your request, or if not, how he or she wants the court to decide the same issue. This response must be filed with the court, and a copy must be sent to the other party or his or her attorney.

What is the discovery process like in a divorce?

Discovery is the legal name for the process that occurs after the petition and response are filed where both parties have the right to seek information from the opposing party. This is one stage of the process where an attorney is particularly valuable. Non-attorneys are typically unaware of the variety of options they have for securing information from the other party. There will be an initial exchange of documents, and then each side will have the chance to request additional information or documentation that he or she needs to make his or her case. This can be an extended process that involves multiple document exchanges and, in some cases, depositions. A deposition allows one party to take sworn testimony from the opposing party and other relevant witnesses.

If the parties — and their attorneys — cannot work out the details of the divorce, then the parties must go before a judge in divorce court to have the court decide the items that the parties could not resolve on their own. In general, parties are more satisfied when they reach a compromise on their own outside of court than when a third party makes a decision for them.

What is a divorce judgment?

Once all the matters within the divorce have been decided by the parties or the judge, a final divorce judgment, or decree, will be drafted and signed by the judge. If the parties resolved the case by settlement, they will typically sign as well to signify their agreement with the terms set forth in the judgment. When a judge makes the final decision, the parties’ signatures are not necessary because their agreement is irrelevant. The parties are then bound by the terms of the judgment from the date it is signed. If one party refuses to follow the terms of the decree, the offended party can bring the offending party back before the judge for enforcement. Various penalties can result from the failure to follow a judgment.

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A divorce is stressful, and understanding the legal requirements and ramifications of a divorce can cause even more stress. That’s why we put together this guide to help you navigate this difficult time with as much ease as possible.

Do you have questions about your case?
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