Divorce Can Be A Lengthy Process

For those who have experienced a divorce in the State of Minnesota, he or she will tell you that it can be a lengthy process; sometimes taking more than a year. There can be so many things to figure out in a divorce—who will the children live with, will we be able to keep the house, how will we pay our debt, will I have to divide my pension?—and all of these things take time to figure out, and may require several trips to the courthouse, attorney’s offices, or other sources to help problem-solve.

Reassurance offered from your attorney, the Judge, or others, that “that this too shall pass” and that your divorce will eventually be granted and that you will be living separately (after a year), can be of small comfort if you, your spouse, and your children are presently living together during a tense, unstable (and hopefully not) volatile or abusive waiting period.  This can be a period of time where emotions are raw, people are feeling vulnerable, and the potential for conflict is enormous.  Is there a way that you can legally separate prior to the completion of a divorce proceeding?

Living With Status Quo Is No Longer Possible

Sometimes there is no easy option to temporarily relocate and live with a friend or family member.  Sometimes such a move entails having to separate from your children, or to have your children move schools; hardships that may prove too great a cost and impose too great a burden on a family in the throes of a dissolution. 

Is it better to simply try to get along and avoid conflict for as long as you can? Or is it better to try to hasten the process along so that you and your family no longer have to suffer through an arduous divorce process, even though you find you are having to make sacrifices and compromises which you do not believe are right for you or your children?

Bridges To Stability

Lawmakers have recognized the hardships that can be created by the amount of time needed for a divorce to be completed.  For that reason, there are laws that allow a spouse to seek temporary relief, or ‘bridges’ to provide some stability for a family going through a lengthy divorce.  The process of seeking this kind of relief is formally referred to by the Courts and lawyers as a “Motion for Temporary Relief”; and it is available to a person or family in need of temporary measures, to regain some stability or control over a very unstable living situation. 

There are several kinds of relief that a Court can award in these situations, including ordering that one spouse leave the family home, so that there is some physical separation between the spouses.  Some of the other kinds of relief that a Court can award include:

  1. Custody and Parenting Time Rights
  2. Spousal Maintenance
  3. Child Support
  4. Attorney’s Fees & Court Costs
  5. Prohibiting Removal or Disposal of Property
  6. Prohibiting Harassment or Mistreatment of Family Members
  7. Prohibiting Removal of Children From the State
  8. Excluding a Spouse from the Family Home

Minn. Stat. §518.131 subd. 1(a).

Urgent Circumstances

When seeking temporary relief, it is important to consider that a Court will need to know why a party cannot wait several months until after a trial to have the relief she or he is seeking (custody of the children, excluding spouse from residence) granted by the Court.  The party seeking temporary relief has the burden of showing the Court, by Affidavits, documents, and arguments to the Court, that there is some risk of physical or emotional harm to the family, or that there is risk of damage to or loss of property, and therefore immediate Court intervention is needed.  If you have fears or concerns that you or your family is at risk of having any of these circumstances arise, (physical or emotional harm, loss or damage of property, loss of or interference with financial support from your spouse, removal of a child from the Court’s jurisdiction) then please consider asking about a Motion for Temporary Relief.

I have experience in representing clients who are seeking temporary relief in these circumstances and know just how challenging the situation can be for a family. Please don’t hesitate to call our office at 651-647-0087 and ask for me if you have questions.

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