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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


Dedicated and Compassionate Divorce Attorneys

At Barna, Guzy & Steffen, we understand how overwhelming and emotionally draining divorce can be for all parties involved. The process is complicated and may take months before a divorce becomes final. That’s why we work hard to ensure that you understand the divorce process in Minnesota as well as the options available to you throughout that process.

What you need to know about divorce in Minnesota

Under Minnesota law, the process of divorce is known as a “dissolution of marriage.” The court dissolves or ends a marriage when the final papers or Judgment and Decree are entered into record. To get divorced in Minnesota, one of the spouses must have lived in the state for at least 180 days before starting the case.

Minnesota is considered a no-fault divorce state – meaning the plaintive does not need a reason to file for divorce as the court doesn’t consider “extraneous circumstances” as part of the final settlement. If you are going through a divorce, understanding your rights and legal obligations to your spouse is crucial. At BGS we tailor our approach to your unique situation and make 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.

All our divorce attorneys are fully licensed to practice law in the state and have more than 80 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. Contact us for more information or to schedule a consultation.

Types of Divorce

  • Contested Divorce – a divorce in which neither party has reached an agreement, including child custody and parenting time, spousal maintenance, or division of property.
  • Uncontested Divorce – a divorce where the parties are able to reach an agreement on all marital issues.
  • High Net Worth Divorce – a divorce involving high monetary assets owned by the couple.
  • High Conflict Divorce – a divorce involving a severe emotional battle between the two parties.
  • Military Divorce – a divorce that is governed by both state and federal laws and allows an individual or their spouse to file in either the state where the service member is currently stationed or the state where they claim legal residency.
  • Collaborative Divorce – a divorce where both parties resolve conflicts using well-developed cooperative strategies in an uncontentious environment.

Key factors to consider when getting divorced

Custody and Parenting Time

Under Minnesota law, there are two types of child custody – legal and physical. Legal custody involves decisions about a child’s education, health care, and religion. Physical custody is the right to make decisions about routine activities and where the children live. Parents can either have joint (shared) custody or one parent can have sole custody.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.

Child Support

Child support is court-ordered payments for the financial support of a child. Under Minnesota law, a child has the right to be financially supported by both parents.

Property Division

Minnesota law considers property a couple has accumulated during the marriage as marital property and subject to equitable division between spouses. However, spouses are not guaranteed a 50-50 split of all marital assets as the court will take several factors into consideration when rendering a final judgment.

Spousal Maintenance

Spousal maintenance in Minnesota is based on need. Unlike child support, there is no standard formula for calculating support for a spouse.

Attorney’s Fees and Costs

Attorney’s fees and legal costs in Minnesota are typically paid for by each party. However, there are exceptions for bad faith claims and on the basis of need.

If you are considering a divorce and need help, contact the expert attorneys at BGS.

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.