More often than not, the family law attorneys in our office are confronted with this question:

“Why do I need a divorce lawyer, when my spouse and I agreed on everything?”

In short, a divorce attorney can ensure that your rights are protected, that there is actually an “equitable division” of martial property, and that custody and parenting time schedules meet the best interest standard for the minor children of a marriage.

  1. If the divorce involves minor children: If you and your spouse have children and you have a full financial and social agreement (i.e. child custody and parenting time) and are both represented by attorneys, those attorneys can draft a stipulated judgment and decree (and agreed upon divorce decree) for both of you to sign and submit to the court. Minnesota law states that if there are minor child of the marriage, the parties have signed and acknowledged a stipulation, and both parties are represented by counsel, then the court can approve a final stipulation without a court hearing. In this scenario, if both sides are represented by counsel and come to an agreement, the divorce may be granted without ever having to appear before a judge.
  1. If the divorce does not involve minor children: Even if you and your spouse do not have any minor children, a divorce attorney can still draft a stipulated judgment and decree for both of you to sign and submit to the court. A divorce attorney can ensure that statutory requirements are met and that the parties’ “agreement” addresses all of the issues that need to be addressed in a divorce decree (i.e. real property division, personal property division, spousal maintenance, etc.). Oftentimes, couples believe that they have a full agreement on “everything” but have not thought about peripheral issues. For example:
  • What will happen with health insurance coverage?
  • How should we actually transfer property to the other party after the divorce?
  • How can I transfer my retirement funds to my spouse without either of us paying tax penalties?

A divorce attorney can help you with all of these nuances and ensure that your rights are protected.