Litigation is the most commonly recognized Minnesota divorce option. The litigation process begins with a summons and petition for dissolution of marriage that is personally served upon your spouse. Your spouse would be required to respond with a written answer. After these pleadings have been filed with the court, parties attend a hearing called an initial case management conference (ICMC).

This ICMC hearing introduces the parties, their respective attorneys and the judge to one another and provides an opportunity to discuss the issues to be addressed. If there are agreements reached on any particular issue(s), those agreements are reduced to a court order, and an alternative dispute resolution method (ADR) is chosen to address the remaining unresolved issues of the divorce. ADR may include mediation and early neutral evaluation (ENE).

The parties will also likely engage in an informal discovery process which involves compiling and disclosing information to the other spouse regarding martial debts and valuation of marital assets, bank accounts and retirement accounts. If parties are unable to reach a final resolution on all the issues of their divorce through an ADR process, the case is set for trial where a judge will hear testimony, receive evidence and make a decision for them.