Even when both parties are amenable, divorce can take people through a full range of emotions. There will be legal and financial issues involved that few people fully expect to encounter.
Financial uncertainty is one of the most significant concerns, often leading people to try to cut costs in any way they can. One way is to serve the divorce papers themselves, rather than hiring an attorney right away. In Minnesota, it is more complicated than many people think and it's not a good idea. This blog post will explain some of the drawbacks.
Organization is key
Although legal costs can take a toll on your finances, hiring an experienced attorney may actually save money in the end. Lawyers understand the process and timelines for getting specific matters taken care of in the most expedient way. Remember, in Minnesota, marriage is a legal contract between parties. Divorce is the legal steps that must be taken through the courts to dissolve the contractual arrangement. There will be no avoiding dealing with the court at one level or another. Each time you have to back up and start over, there will be court costs involved.
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. No matter what reasons a party may have for serving papers on the other spouse, the courts will give each party their day in court.
The average person has little knowledge of the paperwork the court requires. There will be several forms that must be completed and filed, with information that must be compiled correctly and submitted according to a specific process.
This may seem straight forward and something that anyone can do fairly easily. However, there will be time requirements involved, which often require getting paperwork into the right clerk's hands during courtroom business hours. Once the summons has been date stamped and issued by the clerk of court, the clock begins to tick on how long the process allows.
Failing to have the papers served in a timely manner is one of the common mistakes people make when trying to handle this step without a divorce lawyer in Minnesota. There is no room for error and not adhering to the court deadlines could lead to the withdrawal of the summons. You will have to start the process over again, with additional court costs. An attorney will take care of the process on your behalf, while you are at work.
It's not easy
Like other states, you will not be allowed to serve the divorce papers yourself in Minnesota. (The court does not allow parties associated with the case to serve the papers in any civil litigation matter.) While some local sherriff's departments my try to help, don't count on a full-out effort, as their focus will be on law enforcement, not civil litigation. You can expect to pay a fee for the service, as well.
Your other option is to take the summons to the process server of your choice, and have them serve on your behalf. If your spouse chooses to be difficult, you may find that your process server will have to make multiple attempts to serve the papers, each with a fee attached, unless you pay a higher price on a flat-fee basis.
If your process server is able to serve your spouse, they will then have to have them sign a proof of service document. You need to understand services like FedEx, the United States Postal Service and UPS where you can request a return receipt are not viable options in regards to proof of service.
Hire an attorney to avoid unnecessary costs and delays
By hiring a Minnesota divorce lawyer, you will have confidence that every detail will be handled correctly and on time. Divorce lawyers work with the courts and process servers on a daily basis. You can turn every detail over to the law firm without having to worry about taking time off work, meeting deadlines and other restrictions, acquiring the necessary signatures and keeping careful records. Your attorney's interests are your interests. There is little or no room for error in the divorce summons process. It is rarely worth the few dollars saved to take a chance on trying to process your spouse on your own.