Proposed bill promises Minnesotans a better way to divorce

Traditionally, divorce in the United States has been regarded as a contentious and divisive process where there are definite winners and losers. Unfortunately, frequently when divorce is approached this way, ex-spouses and shared children often all end up losing. While alternative means, like mediation, to a traditional litigious divorce exist, only a small percentage of Minnesotans who file for divorce choose this route.

A recently introduced bill called the cooperative private divorce bill is one piece of proposed legislation that, if passed, could improve the divorce process for Minnesotans. Under the bill, which was introduced by Rep. John Lesch and Sen. Sandy Pappas, divorcing spouses would be able to file for divorce online and submit a proposed divorce agreement related to the division of marital assets and property, child custody and spousal support.

As is currently the case for couples in the state who opt to resolve divorce disputes via mediation, the new bill would allow couples to transition a divorce to the courts if and when necessary. Additionally, divorce agreements procured via the collaborative process could be modified.

Proponents of the bill contend that couples who choose a collaborative divorce are provided much more control over the entire process. Credited with saving time, money and stress; the collaborative process also often benefits divorcing parents who learn how to effectively communicate about child custody and visitation matters.

As the cooperative private divorce bill makes its way through legislation, we'll continue to provide updates. Today, Minneapolis area couples who plan to divorce and want to learn more about the collaborative divorce process are advised to seek the advice and counsel of a divorce attorney who practices family law mediation.

Source: Star Tribune, "Bringing fresh thinking to divorce," Gail Rosenblum, March 29, 2015

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