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Do You Have an Advantage by Filing for Divorce First?

Filing for divorce is a big step. If you’re considering it, you probably have an idea of what you’d like to get out of the process, ranging from specific assets to a desired custody schedule. Does that mean that you need to file first to preserve an advantage?

Many people believe that the person who initiates a divorce has an advantage with the court. That’s not necessarily true in Minnesota. Here’s what you should know about advantages to filing first.

Minnesota’s no-fault divorce laws

Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. That means that you don’t have to allege and prove that your spouse committed any wrongdoing in order to receive a divorce. Irreconcilable differences (that is, your marriage is no longer working and at least one of you wishes to leave) are sufficient grounds for divorce in Minnesota.

No-fault divorce states mean that you don’t stand to gain anything by describing spousal wrongdoing in court. While divorces are often very emotional and can be contentious, it’s best to vent to a therapist instead—unless that wrongdoing negatively affects your children. Your attorney can help you decide the best course of action during divorce and custody proceedings.

Choosing the venue

However, there is one advantage to filing first: you get to choose where to file. This is called “venue.” If you both live in different counties, the person filing can decide which county in which to file. This has two advantages. First, the petitioner can choose whichever county has the friendliest views on spousal support and custody. Second, you can choose the county which is most convenient for you. For example, if your spouse lives across the state, you probably won’t want to travel that far each time you need to attend a hearing.

When you’re ready to divorce, call the experienced family lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN.

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Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties.Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


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