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Divorce Mediation Minnesota

Divorce Mediation Minnesota


When a couple decides to permanently separate in Minnesota, the most effective and least costly way of doing so is to file a joint petition for divorce. An important part of this petition is a written agreement detailing how the couple plans to handle such issues as:


• Division of shared property

• Child custody arrangements

• Child support payments

• Alimony payments

• Visitation rights

• Discharging jointly acquired debts


If you and your spouse agree on the necessity of separation but cannot find mutually acceptable resolutions to any or all of these issues, you may benefit from attempting the process of divorce mediation in Minnesota. This is a procedure in which a neutral third party listens to both parties and attempts to find common ground that can be used to create a legally binding document. This process can be voluntarily undertaken by couples at any point prior to filing for divorce or before their court date.


In other cases, a judge may order couples to attend a mediation session. This is now mandatory for all divorce cases that are appealed in Minnesota unless one spouse has been the victim of domestic abuse. However, there are no state-wide guidelines for judges to follow when a divorce case first comes to family court. If the areas of disagreement involve minor children, divorce mediation in Minnesota will generally be ordered. This does not mean the meetings must be continued after an initial unsatisfactory session, nor does it mean either spouse must sign an agreement that is not satisfactory to them.


Regardless of when the process of divorce mediation in Minnesota begins, couples may opt out at any time. They may also decide to modify the process to ensure both parties get the most out of it. If a couple cannot consent to discuss their matters with one mediator, they may decide to request the presence of a co-mediator with expertise in a certain area. Some couples may no longer reside in the same city and arrange for all divorce mediation in Minnesota to be pursued through telephone conferences.


Prior to any initial session, a mediator will gather the background necessary for expedient negotiations. Spouses may be asked to participate in preliminary phone conversations to explain their side of the story. At the first meeting, both parties will be reminded that any statements they make are only for the benefit of each other and the mediator and cannot be reported to a court. The only legal consequence that can result from divorce mediation in Minnesota is a separation agreement to present for a judge’s approval.


By consenting to this process, spouses significantly increase the chances of creating mutually acceptable terms to end their marriage. Doing so will help ensure that a judge does not issue a ruling striking either party as unjust. Successfully completing divorce mediation in Minnesota will also help avoid the significant expense of retaining private legal counsel.