Will We Need to Go to Court for our Divorce?

Oct 26, 2009

In some Minnesota divorce cases, parties can get a divorce without ever stepping foot in the courthouse. In order to avoid a court hearing, the parties must reach a complete agreement. If you start the court process and are unable to reach an agreement, you will have court hearings (starting with an Initial Case Management Conference, Temporary Relief Motion Hearing, Scheduling Conference, or a Pre-Trial Conference). But if you and your spouse have a signed Marital Termination Agreement before your first court date, you may never need to go to court.

If the parties have no minor children or if both parties are both represented by counsel when kids are involved, the divorce may be granted without a final hearing. If a hearing is involved (when there are kids involved but not two attorneys, or in some cases where the judge has some concern even though there are no children or there are two attorneys), it will just be a final default hearing. It is a rather simple hearing, typically only the Petitioner and the Petitioner's attorney are required to be there (although the Respondent and Respondent's attorney can be there, and sometimes it is helpful for them to be there). The Judge will want a record of the facts of the case and the terms of the agreement. The Petitioner (and the Respondent if there) will be sworn-in and the attorneys will ask questions identifying the facts and agreements. The signed document will be identified and entered into the record. The Judge may ask additional questions regarding the best interests of the children. And that will be it. The Judge will sign off on the agreement and the divorce will be entered with Court Administration in the next few days or weeks.