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763.780.8500 Toll Free: 800.422.3486 info@bgs.com

200 Coon Rapids Blvd. NW, #400
Coon Rapids, MN 55433


Experienced, Compassionate Attorneys for a Difficult Time

Legal disputes involving loved ones can be difficult and emotionally draining. At Barna, Guzy & Steffen, we understand those difficulties, especially in the case of a divorce. This process is much more complicated than getting married and it may take months before a divorce becomes final. We work hard to ensure that you understand the divorce process in Minnesota as well as the options available to you throughout.

If you are going through a divorce, you need to understand your rights and legal obligations to your spouse. Our personalized approach to your situation makes your priorities our priorities. Because the divorce process can be emotionally taxing for all involved, including children, it’s often a good idea to bring in a knowledgeable advocate who can help you make sound, informed decisions.

Many questions can arise during the divorce process involving custody of the children, division of assets, spousal support (or alimony), threats of domestic violence, cost of divorce, and much more. Divorce varies by case and can become a long, drawn-out process if the parties disagree. When you schedule an initial consultation, we’ll go over potential fees and costs for a divorce. These include court fees, attorney’s fees, “service of process” costs, and more. These costs vary and fluctuate depending on each individual divorce.

Under Minnesota law, a divorce is called a “Dissolution of Marriage.” To get divorced in Minnesota, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 180 days before starting the case. All of our divorce attorneys are fully licensed to practice law in Minnesota. We have more than 75 years of combined experience with Minnesota family law proceedings. Each member of our team is sensitive to the financial and personal challenges our clients face. We work effectively, accurately, and persistently to resolve legal issues in the best interests of our clients.

Appointments are available during our office hours, Monday through Friday, as well as after-work appointments on Tuesday evenings. In addition, Liz Schading offers appointments at 7 a.m. Contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation.


Read about standard procedures that may occur during the divorce process.

Initial Summons, Petition, or Answer

A divorce begins with one party serving a Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage on their spouse. The spouse then has a 30-day period to serve the Petitioner with an answer or a Counter Petition. Once the Petition has been filed, the case is assigned to a judge.

Early Case Management

Several counties in Minnesota have adopted the Early Case Management program. Within three weeks of filing, both parties and the attorneys for both parties meet with the assigned judge for an Initial Case Management Conference.

The Initial Case Management Conference, or ICMC, focuses on both parties finding resolutions to contested issues in order to eliminate barriers to a settlement.

Pretrial Conference

If both parties cannot resolve disputed issues, a pretrial conference will be scheduled to discuss these issues.


After pretrial, the court sets a trial date. Between the pretrial and trial dates, parties typically continue to negotiate disputes and disagreements through their attorneys. Your attorney will prepare you and gather all necessary witnesses and information for trial.

After Your Divorce

Modification of child support, custody, or parental access is often necessary after a divorce due to changes in circumstances. We can continue to help even after the decree has been entered.

Our Divorce Attorneys

Frequently Asked Questions


Do I need an appointment to speak with an attorney?

Please call our offices to inquire about making an appointment to speak with an attorney. The knowledgeable staff will be able to answer your questions regarding the appointment and make sure that everyone is prepared for the initial consultation.

How much do you charge for a consultation?

While some attorneys have free initial consultations, there are some areas of law that require a small fee for an initial consultation. You will be informed of any and all fees associated when you call to make an appointment.

What are your attorney’s fees?

Our attorneys offer highly sought-after professional services for which there is an associated fee. These fees will be discussed in your initial consultation.

How do you bill and when is my payment due?

Billing and payments are determined by individual attorneys who will discuss these issues with clients at their initial appointments.

Will you keep my legal matter confidential?

Our attorneys and staff are professionals experienced in providing legal services with efficiency and the utmost of client confidentiality. Trust, dedication, and professionalism are essential to the success of any business relationship. We believe these characteristics are the essence of integrity, and we strive to nurture these values within our firm. Since our inception, the attorneys at Barna, Guzy & Steffen have been committed to providing comprehensive legal services within the framework of professional excellence.

What should I do if I am stopped by the police?

  • Be respectful and polite.
  • Stay calm and in control of yourself.
  • Keep your hands to yourself and in plain view.
  • Don’t resist, even if you believe you are innocent.
  • Do not tell the police they’re wrong or that you’re going to file a complaint.
  • Don’t say anything about the situation.
  • If arrested, ask to speak with a lawyer in private as soon as reasonably possible.
  • If the officer asks if you know why they stopped you, simply reply that you are not sure.

What should I do if I am arrested?

Listen to your Miranda Rights.

  • You have the right to remain silent.
  • Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
  • You have the right to an attorney. The attorney should be present before any questioning.
  • If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed to represent you before any questioning.
  • Do you understand these rights?

Request to speak with an attorney in private. Your Miranda warning will be read to you by the arresting officer. It is very important that you pay attention to every word of these rights.

If you are placed under arrest, the officer has most likely completed an investigation leading to the belief that there was probable cause that you committed a crime. At this point, the officer has made their decision. Do not think that you could say or do anything to change the officer’s mind.

Do not resist arrest. Resisting arrest could subject you to further criminal charges if you go too far. Additionally, your attitude toward the arresting officer, if negative or volatile, will be presented as supporting a guilty verdict. In general, juries do not react favorably to a person who fights with police and will most likely see this is as evidence of guilt.

If convicted, the prosecution could use any negative conduct to support a harsher sentence. In short, displaying aggressive behavior toward police will only cause trouble. Even if you are scared, angry, or are experiencing high anxiety, you must maintain composure and politely request to speak to an attorney in private.

What happens after I am arrested?

  1. The arrest: There is probable cause that the person has committed a crime.
  2. Police reports: These reports go to the prosecuting attorney, who decides whether charges will be filed.
  3. The arraignment/first appearance: The criminal defendant is formerly advised of the charges and of constitutional rights. Bail if often set at this arraignment.
  4. Pre-trial hearing: This is a good time to negotiate a plea.
  5. Trial: During a trial, both sides will present their arguments to a jury made up of men and women as impartial jurors. During the deliberation phase, the jury will decide whether the prosecution has met the burden of proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. If the jury finds the defendant not guilty, they are free to go and cannot be prosecuted again based on the same offenses.
  6. Sentencing: If the defendant is found guilty, the judge will determine and impose proper punishment in the sentencing hearing. At this hearing, the defendant can propose why they believe the judge should give a lower possible penalty.
  7. Collateral Consequences: Conviction can have additional consequences. In felony cases, these consequences can include but are not limited to: loss of the right to vote, loss of the right to possess a firearm, loss of the right to associate with other known criminals, registration as a predatory offender, registration as a narcotics offender, or increased penalties for future convictions.
  8. Appeals and writs: If convicted, it is possible to file an appeal to an appellate-level court to argue that the trial court made legal errors. If the defense can prove that the trial court made legal errors, or denial of a fair trial, it may result in the reversal of the conviction.
  9. Probation/supervised release/parole: This is a period of time when the defendant has multiple sentencing provisions to comply with.
  10. Expungement: Expungement is a process where, in some cases, your conviction may be sealed.

Speak with an Experienced Attorney

The law firm of Barna, Guzy & Steffen offers dedicated attorneys who effectively and efficiently handle your legal needs with the highest level of professionalism.