10 Things You Should NEVER Do During a Divorce in Minnesota
Going through a divorce can be an incredibly difficult and emotionally draining time. With so much at stake, from divvying up assets to determining custody arrangements, it’s understandable that divorcing spouses may make some missteps along the way.
However, making the wrong moves during your Minnesota divorce can lead to long-lasting consequences.
To help you avoid common pitfalls, our divorce attorneys at Martine Law have put together this guide on what not to do during a divorce in Minnesota. Following sound legal advice and avoiding these mistakes can lead to a smoother, faster, and more favorable divorce outcome.
1. Don’t Try to Handle Your Divorce Without a Lawyer
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when getting divorced in Minnesota is attempting to handle your divorce without legal representation. Divorce is complicated, with many legal intricacies involved in filing paperwork, determining asset distribution, arranging custody, calculating support payments, and more.
Without proper guidance from an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney, you risk overlooking important issues, failing to protect your rights and interests, and potentially ending up with an unfavorable settlement. Having a knowledgeable lawyer on your side levels the playing field and ensures your voice is heard.
At Martine Law, our divorce lawyers have handled hundreds of divorce cases in Minnesota. We know the ins and outs of state laws and local court procedures. Our team can answer your questions, advise you of your options, and handle communications and filings while you focus on getting through this difficult transitional period.
2. Don’t Let Your Emotions Drive Your Decisions
As difficult as it may be, you need to make level-headed decisions during your divorce rather than letting your feelings dictate your actions. Decisions driven by anger, hurt, or a desire for revenge often lead to poor outcomes.
For example, fighting for full custody as a way to punish your ex could backfire if the court determines joint custody to be in your children’s best interests. Or refusing to negotiate could drag out the proceedings, costing you more in legal fees.
Our compassionate team understands this is an emotional time. We’ll provide objective guidance to help you make the best choices for your future while also standing by you as a strong advocate throughout the negotiations. Leaning on us for perspective and insight will prevent your emotions from clouding your judgment.
3. Don’t Assume You Won’t Owe or Receive Alimony
Failing to consider spousal maintenance (alimony) is another common mistake people make when getting divorced in Minnesota. Often, there is an imbalance of income between spouses. The higher-earning spouse may owe support to the lower-earning one to allow them to maintain a similar standard of living post-divorce.
Likewise, even the higher-earning spouse could be awarded temporary alimony in some cases, such as to cover living expenses during school to reenter the job market.
Unless you and your spouse sign a premarital or postnuptial agreement waiving alimony, it’s smart to discuss this topic with your MN divorce lawyer. We can request financial documents, assess your situation, and negotiate reasonable support if appropriate. Taking alimony into account from the start prevents nasty surprises down the road.
4. Don’t Assume Child Custody Will Be 50/50
When children are involved, many divorcing parents simply assume they’ll end up with 50/50 joint physical and legal custody. However, this is not always the outcome Minnesota courts will order. The court must decide custody based on the children’s best interests.
- Which parent has been the primary caregiver
- The child’s age and needs
- Each parent’s work schedule and flexibility
- Distance between households
…and more will be taken into account. Don’t make assumptions. Your MN family law attorney from Martine Law will thoroughly assess your situation and fight for a custody agreement that truly serves the well-being of your kids.
5. Don’t Hide Assets or Income
Attempting to hide assets or income during a divorce is never a good idea. Besides being unethical, you will likely get caught, and it will reflect very poorly on you legally to seem deceitful.
The court will order full financial disclosure from both parties. So if you fail to disclose certain assets, once revealed later, you may lose your right to them in the property division. It could also damage your credibility when it comes to arguing for custody or child support arrangements.
Be honest and upfront from the start. Not only is this the right thing to do, but our attorneys can help you make the best legal arguments for a fair split of marital property, even if your spouse brought in more earnings during the marriage.
6. Don’t Move Out Without Consulting Your Lawyer
Sometimes, one spouse may move out of the marital home during or immediately before filing for divorce. This is usually not advisable without first speaking to your MN divorce attorney.
There are a few risks:
- It could be seen as marital home abandonment, hurting your custody case
- Your spouse remaining in the home may try to claim it as “their” property
- You may have to cover your own temporary housing expenses
Your lawyer can request temporary use of the home for you instead or take other steps to protect your rights. Never vacate the marital residence without a court order or an agreement in place.
7. Don’t Make Major Joint Purchases or Sell Property.
Making large joint purchases or selling/gifting marital assets to others during the divorce process is legally risky. The court looks at your assets and debts as they existed on the official date of separation.
Any shady transactions could be challenged. At best, the court reverses them in the property division. At worst, you could be accused of hiding assets or even financial fraud. At Martine Law, we’ll help you preserve assets and avoid fraudulent transfers.
8. Do Not Post Divorce Details on Social Media
Venting your feelings online or bashing your ex may feel satisfying in the moment. However, social media is public, and those posts could harm you during divorce proceedings. The court may view this as evidence you are not equipped to act in a mature, responsible manner for issues like child custody.
Disparaging your spouse online could also be seen as defamation or harassment, especially if repeated. At a minimum, it looks unflattering. Maintain the moral high ground by keeping private details off social networks during and after your divorce.
9. Don’t Move Your Children Out of State Without Approval
If you have minor children, you need court approval to move out of Minnesota, whether before the divorce is finalized or any time after. Otherwise, you may be accused of custodial interference or kidnapping.
There are very specific laws around relocating with children after a divorce. Our MN family law team can advise you on your options. If your reasons are legitimate and serve the kids’ well-being, we can petition the court for approval on your behalf. Never disrupt your children’s lives by moving without authorization.
10. Don’t Delay Getting Help for Your Mental Health
Finally, recognize that divorce is incredibly hard emotionally. Seeking counseling or other mental health support during this transition is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it demonstrates maturity and that you’re actively working to process this life change in a healthy manner.
Strong negative emotions left unchecked can lead to poor choices and self-destructive behaviors that may affect your divorce outcome. Prioritize self-care, and don’t be afraid to lean on professionals for guidance during this difficult period.
Work With an Experienced Minneapolis Divorce Attorney
Going through a divorce in Minnesota does not have to be an ugly, contentious process if you have the right legal team on your side. The Minneapolis divorce lawyers at Martine Law guide our clients to positive resolutions efficiently and cost-effectively. We aim to reduce conflict, not fuel it.
Our attorneys have extensive experience with all aspects of MN divorce and family law. We know how to navigate local courts and use mediation and negotiation to reach equitable agreements while protecting your rights. Trust us to steer you clear of these common divorce mistakes so you can move forward with confidence.
To get started and learn more about how we can help with your Minnesota divorce, contact us online to schedule a consultation.