From my perspective, filing for divorce is a relatively simple and form-driven process. I understand, however, that the decision to file for divorce is an entirely different story. If you are considering filing for divorce or find yourself in a position where you are responding to a Summons and Petition, then my hope is to provide a basic understanding and explanation of the various forms.
For some, ending a marriage may seem insurmountable even before factoring in unfamiliar court deadlines, legalese, and rules. But initiating a divorce proceeding usually requires the following forms.
The Summons and Petition
This is typically drafted by one party and served on the other. The Summons provides notice to a spouse that the other spouse is petitioning for a dissolution of the marriage. It sets forth standard restraining provisions (e.g., don’t drop your spouse from your insurance, etc.), and the legal descriptions/property identification numbers for any real estate owned by the parties.
The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage sets forth basic facts about the parties, their assets and debts, and children (if any). The Summons and Petition must be served upon the other spouse. The responding spouse may sign an Admission of Service, or if the spouse will not cooperate, it may be necessary to hire a process server, and have the process server complete an Affidavit of Service once service is accomplished.
Confidential Information Form
This form sets forth all of the names, and social security numbers of the parties and minor children. Unsurprisingly, this form is filed confidentially, because it contains restricted identifiers.
Admission of Service/Affidavit of Service
One option I always offer my clients is for me to simply send an e-mail or letter to their spouse asking them to sign an Admission of Service, which is a document that states they received a copy of the Summons and Petition. They do not waive any rights by signing this document. There have, however, been times that I needed to hire a process server to accomplish this service. The process server completes an Affidavit of Service and provides that to the party to file.
Certificate of Representation and Parties
This document sets forth the names and addresses of the parties. If one or both parties are represented, the document would include the parties’ attorney’s names and addresses.
Once a party has been served with a Summons and Petition, and the Admission of Service or Affidavit of Service is returned the petitioning spouse files all five (5) documents listed above with court administration in the county they live, and pay the filing fee. Within a few days, the parties can expect to receive a court file number, a judicial assignment (if the parties live in a county that assigns a one judge to one case), and a date for an Initial Case Management Conference.
Minneapolis Divorce Attorney
If you are going through a divorce, it’s important that you hire an attorney who can stand by your side and represent your best interests. The family law attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers have decades of combined experience helping clients throughout the Twin Cities with their divorce proceedings. Contact our Minnesota divorce lawyers today to set up your consultation!