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If you have come to the decision to get a divorce, you have probably already experienced plenty of stress and difficulties. Now that you have arrived at this decision, you want to move forward as quickly, cheaply and painlessly as possible.
Getting a divorce in Minnesota can be fairly straightforward or complicated, depending on your circumstances. Whether your divorce will be easy or difficult depends primarily on the ability of you and your spouse to reach agreements on all practical matters of the divorce. If you can both agree on the need to divorce, how your property will be divided and on matters related to your children (if you have children), your divorce may be simple and could likely proceed without a lawyer. In this case you only need to fill out the appropriate Minnesota divorce papers, submit them to your county court and wait.
If you and your spouse are not in agreement about issues related to the divorce, things can become complicated. The state will only allow the marriage to be dissolved after these things have been decided. If you and your spouse cannot decide, then the court will be forced to do it for you. A practical option in this situation is divorce mediation. If mediation is not effective option, a divorce attorney may be your best course.
We’ve gathered the the following information to help you understand the basics of Minnesota divorce, as well as how you can start moving forward with your own divorce.
Information provided by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC),indicates that the divorce rate in Minnesota was only available up to 2004, At that time the divorce recorded rate was 2.8 for every 1,000 residents – lower than most other in the United States.
Minnesota requires that you or your spouse be a resident of the state for at least 180 days before you are allowed to file for divorce. You are required to file for divorce in the county where either you or your spouse resides.
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. In a no-fault divorce, you do not need to place the blame for the divorce on your spouse. You only need to state that the marriage is broken beyond repair, and that you do not see this changing in the future. Many people prefer no-fault divorce because it limits how much embarrassing personal information is brought up in court. However, issues like adultery and abuse can still be used to influence court decisions on issues like child support and spousal maintenance.
The divorce process in Minnesota begins with a Summons and a Petition, two documents that you will fill out and submit to your county court. As the party filing for divorce – also referred to as dissolution of marriage – you will referred to as the petitioner. Your spouse will be the respondent, as he or she will need to respond to your demand for divorce.
If you and your spouse are in agreement on all issues related to divorce, you also have the option of filing a “Joint Divorce Petition”. This is actually the easiest way to file for divorce in Minnesota, as you and your spouse both sign the same papers and do not have to go through the summons process.
The Minnesota Judicial Branch offers a Self Help Center where you can learn all about divorce in the state. It is a good idea to review this site thoroughly, as it is always best to be informed while conducting legal matters. The better educated you are about your rights and the correct way of working through the courts, the better you can look out for your interests.
When you begin reviewing all of the possible options and divorce forms that you may or may not fill out, it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed. The legal system can be complex and confusing, and making a mistake can cost you time and money. For many people, the easiest option is to use the online service avaiable from CompleteCase.com for their Minnesota divorce papers. At CompleteCase.com you will be guided through the form selection process and the completion of the appropriate forms to ensure that you get everything right the first time.
When you have completed all of your divorce papers online or elsewhere it is time to print out your forms and submit them to your local county clerk. You have the option of filing in the county you or your spouse resides. You can identify which court you should file at on the Minnesota Judicial Branch's website under Courthouses and Locations Directory. It is always a good idea to contact your local county courthouse before you go down to file your divorce forms. The county clerk can help you verify that you have all the necessary forms, and that you bring a form of payment that the court accepts to pay the state filing fee. Also, avoid signing any of the forms until you visit a notary or you arrive at the courthouse, which should have a notary available.
If you and your spouse did not fill out a joint petition, you will need to serve him or her the divorce papers after you file. You can mail copies of the divorce documents along with an Acknowledgment of Service form, as long as your spouse will cooperate by completing the acknowledgment form and return it to you. If you are unsure about his or her cooperation, you can hire a sheriff's deputy or private process server to serve the papers.
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It's great to have an option like this when dealing with an amicable, uncomplicated divorce - no need for attorneys when there's nothing to hash out.
By Deborah Sharp, USA TODAY
Couples can find a mate, fill out a bridal registry and plan a honeymoon on the computer. Now they can also divorce online.
A Web site started last year by a Seattle attorney gives the unhappily wed in Washington, California, Florida and New York the option of dissolving their marriages online. Texas is next, and several other states are being considered.
The site is the latest twist in a do-it-yourself trend. Changing trends in the USA Average age of first marriage Divorce year male female Divorced Americans Divorces granted 1970 23.2 20.8 4.3 million 0.7 million 2000 26.8 25.1 19.9 million 1.2 million Sources: U.S. Census; National Center for Health Statistics
No national figures exist on self-representation. But some experts estimate that as many as half of 1.2 million couples divorcing annually in the USA do so without a lawyer representing at least one of the parties.
The Web site, www.completecase.com, differs from the many self-help sites offering advice, referrals or downloads of documents needed to file for divorce in a particular state.
For $249, the Web site prompts couples with questions on everything from dividing financial assets to deciding where the kids celebrate birthdays. The software then uses their answers to fill out the documents that a couple can download and submit to a court.
Requirements vary by locale as to whether a couple must show up in court or can mail in or fax their divorce filing. But in all cases, a judge must still sign the order ending a marriage.
Randy Finney, a family law attorney for 11 years and the founder of the Web site, says it was designed for uncontested divorces. It's not for couples with convoluted finances or for those fighting over child custody and who gets the dog.
"The decision to get a divorce comes way before the decision about how to get a divorce," says Finney, 35, who is happily married. "I don't think anyone takes their wedding vows so frivolously that they're going to get a divorce just because they can do it for $249."
Not everyone is thrilled with the notion of cyber-divorce.
Judges and lawyers fret that couples who use the Web site may believe they've had legal counsel when they haven't. And leaders in the movement to save marriages complain that point-and-click divorce further undermines the institution's supposed sanctity.
"I can only think of one use of the Internet that's worse and that's pornography," says Dennis Rainey, executive director of FamilyLife, a religious group based in Little Rock. "We're trying to do all we can to call people to keep their wedding vows."
FamilyLife has joined with 30 other organizations since 1999 in drawing 175,000 spouses nationwide to "I Still Do" ceremonies that affirm marriage.
Despite the marriage celebrations, about one-fifth of American men and women have been divorced at least once.
A study released last month by the U.S. Census shows about 90% of Americans will marry at some point. For men, 54% married just once. For women, 60%. Serial marriage is rare: Only 3% of Americans have married three times or more; 13% have married twice.
Finney estimates his Web site has helped 1,000 couples unhitch. Stacey Kiss of Seattle is among those who traveled to virtual Splitsville. The self-described "Internet junkie" says it took her and her husband of seven years about three hours one night to click through the Web site's detailed questions.
"We never got along on anything through our entire marriage, but we still managed to come to an agreement," says Kiss, 36, a hospital business-services manager. "Why drag it out and make it complicated?"
She says the online split was cheaper and easier than her first, traditional divorce. Now single, Kiss says she's comfortable with dot-com divorce, but she draws the line at cyber-dating.
"I like surfing the Web," she says, "but not for men."
Ernesto Gomez and his wife Blanca had been planning to get a divorce for three years. They had already separated and worked out custody and child support for their two kids. But they had stalled on filing because they didn't want to deal with the hassle and expense. Hiring a lawyer, they were told, would cost at least $1,500. Using a free service offered by the court would involve numerous meetings spread out over several weeks.
So when Gomez heard an ad on the radio for a service called completecase.com that would let him fill out the paperwork online for just $249, he decided to give it a try. Four days after he logged onto the site, he had the papers completed and filed in court. "CompleteCase gives you step-by-step instructions. You can't miss anything," says Gomez, a distribution-center manager in Miami.
Gomez is not the only one turning to the Internet to simplify the process. Other services, like divorcewizards. com and divorcesyourself.com also offer quickie online divorce kits, usually for $300 or less. No lawyer is involved unless a client chooses to pay extra for a consultation by phone or e-mail.
Brian Lee, president of legalzoom.com says his site has handled more than 30,000 divorces since its launch in 2001. Though people still have to convey their forms to the court, the process of filling out the paperwork can take less than an hour, thanks to simple online questionnaires that hand-hold customers through the process.
Online divorce is not an option if the couple can't agree on the terms. Even when they can, not everyone thinks it's a good idea. "Instant divorce is the last thing we need," says Mike McManus, president of the marriage advocacy group Marriage Savers. Instead of a divorce, McManus says, couples often just need time to cool off before working out their differences.
Still, such services are spreading. Utah and California offer do-it-yourself sites that let you fill the forms out online (for $20 at utcourts.gov/how to; free at www.courtinfo.ca.gov/selfhelp) Traffic on the California site rose from 6,800 page views in May 2002 to nearly 17,000 in May 2003. --By Anita Hamilton
The Los Angeles Times; Los Angeles, Calif.; Nov 19, 2001; MARTIN MILLER;
Abstract: Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months.
Full Text: (Copyright, The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times 2001 All rights reserved)
The circle of online life is now complete. You can date online; you can marry online; and now you can divorce online.
Californians can legally split from their spouses over the Web site http://www.completecase.com and never have to set foot in a courthouse or lawyer's office. Legal papers can be completed within anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours, depending on the complexity of the split, according to Randolph Finney, a Seattle-based family law attorney who founded the site.
For a flat fee of $249, the site walks divorcing couples step-by- step through such issues as community property and calculating child support payments. When the online form is completed, the applicant simply signs the papers and mails them to the courthouse.
But it's not for everyone. It works only for those couples who are parting amicably and filing for an uncontested divorce. "If you can't agree on who gets the kids, our site is not for you," says Finney, a married 35-year-old.
The site debuted earlier this year, but only to residents of Washington state. Last month, California was added, and soon Florida, New York and Oregon are expected to be added. So far, the site has helped process hundreds of divorces, says Finney.
The site has drawn critics who denounce the online divorce as yet another blow to society's bedrock institutions. The very ease of the process, some contend, makes family and marriage as disposable as an old appliance. Indeed, a similar site in England was recently condemned by the pope as immoral because it made divorce too easy.
Naturally, Finney disagrees. "I think our Web site has the opposite effect," he said. "If you're going to get divorced, let's do it in a civil manner. I really don't believe having something available that makes it easier and costs less money is going to encourage divorce."
The inspiration for the project came from his law practice, where he primarily handles divorces. It took about a year to get the site up and running. "On almost a daily basis, I would get clients who said they needed a divorce but didn't have the money or the patience with the legal process to pursue it," he said. "These people are really stuck between a rock and a hard place."
For Californians, once the judge signs the documents, they are "legally binding and enforceable," says Finney, but per state law the divorce doesn't become finalized for six months. "It isn't quite as fast as a Las Vegas divorce," he says.
Your case registration has been submitted successfully.
The next step in completing your divorce petition is to pay the case processing fee.
After your payment is processed, your personal login will be accessible. Logging in will allow you to answer the additional questions required to complete your divorce.
When completing the online questionnaire, help and explanations are provided for each question. Should you have any questions during the process, you may call our support line to speak with a divorce specialist.
We provide a 100% guarantee that the forms provided by CompleteCase.com will be accepted by the court. If the forms are not accepted due to the fault of CompleteCase.com, we will make any changes requested by the court or judge (without charge), or a refund will be issued. Verification of any denial or rejection may be requested.
Based on the information provided you are not qualified to use CompleteCase.com to complete your divorce online at this time.
We recommend contacting a licensed Family Law attorney to help you with your situation.