Divorcing parties without children need to fairly distribute all assets and debt according to Minnesota statutes. Parents undergoing separation with children must establish custody and parenting time arrangements whether or not the parental relationship ever involved a legal marriage. More than 50% of all relationships that result in the birth of a child result in a breakup. Whether married or not, parents must establish custody and parenting time plansWhile divorce and custody disputes are complex, stressful events in anyone’s life, there is one constant:

The time and cost of your divorce is directly proportional to the number of people involved and the degree of conflict between those people.

In the best of circumstances, parties use free documents available from their county Court Administrator or from the
Minnesota Judicial Branch Web site to structure a divorce or custody agreement without involving attorneys or any other person. The cost of such a divorce or custody agreement is no more than the filing fees, which for most Minnesota District Courts is approximately $400. For any divorce involving children, the State of Minnesota also requires that both parties complete a Parents Forever class at an additional cost, which varies from county to county. Contact your county Court Administrator for details about Parents Forever classes in your area.

Some parties find it necessary to seek help from trusted mutual friends or clergy to resolve their most difficult financial and custody/parenting time divorce disputes. This conciliatory use of third parties generally does not involve additional money unless the parties use attorneys to prepare and file their divorce paperwork.

When these methods are not possible, the Minnesota Judicial Branch encourages most married couples who have not been involved in domestic violence to use
alternative dispute resolution, or mediation, as a means to reaching a divorce settlement, especially when the divorce involves children. Parties with children continue to share parenting responsibilities after their divorce, and mediation promotes a decision-making atmosphere, experience, and co-parenting skills that extend beyond the divorce process in the children’s best interests.

When using mediation for reaching agreements on their divorce and/or child custody, parties hire the services of a neutral mediator who assists them in reaching a voluntary agreement by helping to clarify issues, consider settlement options, and reach a workable settlement acceptable to both parties. Fees vary across mediation services, but the
fee schedule for Northwest Mediation & Custody Evaluation Services is unique in that it covers the services of a male/female mediation team, a way to eliminate perceptions of gender bias at no extra cost when compared to other services that provide either a male or a female mediator. Parties are encouraged to have all mediation agreements reviewed by an attorney before filing their settlement with the courts.

Northwest Mediation & Custody Evaluation Services staff are fully trained neutrals
as defined under Minnesota General Rules of Practice Rule 114,
and proud members of the

NWM&CES is a member of the AFCC