At Smith Paulson O’Donnell & Associates, PLC, we understand that dealing with a divorce or other family law dispute can be a difficult process. Our attorneys work closely with clients in Monticello and throughout the northwest Minneapolis metropolitan area to resolve these delicate legal matters as quickly and amicably as possible. In addition to handling divorce and dissolution proceedings, we assist clients with:
- Child support
- Cost of living increases
- Child custody and visitation
- Juvenile court proceedings
- Post-divorce relief
- Prenuptial agreements
Although we are experienced and tenacious litigators, we also have a wealth of experience in using forms of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), such as mediation and arbitration, to settle divorces and family disputes. ADR can often prove more efficient and more cost-effective than contentious litigation, and result in a resolution that pleases both parties, preserving the civility of a relationship that often must continue after the dissolution of a marriage, particularly if there are child custody or support arrangements involved.
Divorce Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the grounds for a divorce in Minnesota?
A: Minnesota is a no-fault state. This means one spouse need only prove that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship” to obtain a divorce. The court cannot consider any fault of either spouse in deciding custody, division of property, or other dispute.
Q: How long does it take to get a divorce/dissolution?
A: Every situation is different, and the length of time a divorce takes will depend on a variety of conditions, such as:
- Whether both parties want the divorce
- Whether there are minor children
- Whether there will be a custody dispute
- Whether there is a dispute regarding property
- Whether any other disputes arise
A divorce/dissolution can be finalized in anywhere from a month to a couple of years, depending largely on how agreeable the parties are to finding a resolution and whether and how quickly they are able to settle any differences.
Q: What will the divorce cost?
A: Without knowing the facts of a particular divorce, it is nearly impossible to say. At Smith Paulson O’Donnell & Associates, PLC, we charge an hourly rate between $200 and $250, plus filing fees and any other costs. Filing fees are currently $330 in most counties and if there is a need to bring any motions, there is a motion fee of $55 per motion.
Q: What is the difference between legal custody and physical custody?
A: Legal custody refers to the parties’ rights to have input regarding the major decisions in a minor child’s life regarding health, education, and religion. Physical custody refers to the parent with whom the minor child primarily lives. Often, one parent has physical custody and both parents have legal custody, although there are situations where joint physical custody may be awarded.
Q: What is a custody study/investigation?
A: The court will request a custody study when the parties cannot reach an agreement on the custody of the children and/or parenting time. The study consists of an investigation into the abilities of each parent to care for and raise the children, and consists of interviews with the parents, friends, family, teachers, co-workers, counselors, and/or doctors. The custody evaluator analyzes key factors in making its determination on what custodial arrangement is in the best interests of the children, and then writes a report with a recommendation to the court as to the best arrangement. The custody study can take anywhere from 3 months to a year, depending on the cooperation of the parties, and is typically taken very seriously by the court.
Seek Experienced Legal Representation
If you are involved in a divorce or other family law dispute, it is important to hire an attorney who not only has experience handling these types of cases but also cares about you and your family on a personal level. By taking the time to learn about your family, your goals, and your needs, our attorneys can provide exceptional legal representation and ensure we are protecting your rights and interests. To schedule a consultation to discuss your case, contact Smith Paulson O’Donnell & Associates, PLC today.