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For more than 50 years, the attorneys at Thorwaldsen and Malmstrom have been providing solid legal guidance and advice to individuals seeking a divorce in Minnesota and North Dakota. Please contact us for more information or to receive a free consultation. If this isn’t the first time you have dissolved a marriage, you probably don’t know what to expect in a divorce. 

Expect Divorce to Take Months

For instance, many of our clients are surprised to learn that most of the process occurs outside the courtroom. Others imagine it involves nothing more than stopping by the courthouse to sign a document or two. The simple truth is, divorce can take months to be finalized. The following will provide you with a better feel for the process. 

Expect to Avoid Trial

You may imagine divorce to be you standing before a judge and exposing your ex for what he/she really is. But, the truth is, few divorces in Minnesota and North Dakota actually go to trial. And, those that do, rarely involve the excitement of those you see on television. 

When it comes to divorce, there are no real winners. Even couples who hate each other often find the process to be painful and sad. This is especially true when it comes to child custody, child support, spousal support and the division of property.

Expect to Negotiate

We find the solutions are best reached through mediation or other dispute resolution alternatives. Those alternatives include negotiations involving the divorcing couple and their attorneys. This give-and-take process ensures that both parties walk away having felt their voices were heard and their needs addressed.

The longer a divorce goes on, the more expensive it becomes. When no agreement can be reached, a judge may have to make decisions regarding both parties. Preparing a contentious divorce for trial requires a lot of the legal team’s time as they work on discovery, preparing for trial and the courtroom time itself. Depending on the number of witnesses and matters under dispute, a divorce trial can take several days. This is expensive and very difficult on children and families.

Expect to Make Major Decisions

Divorcing from your spouse is a life-changing process. Many clients want to just get it over with. This can lead to making rash decisions that can have long-term negative effects on their lives and those of their children. 

Before you hand over the house, vehicles, kids, and walk off in disgust, consider the consequences. Think things through and plan for your future, but don’t get hung up on small items either. Heading into an expensive trial over $3000 worth of living room furniture is also not in your best interest.

Expect Not to Have Your Children Full Time

One of the most difficult things divorcing couples have to address is children. They must come to accept is that they likely will not have free and full access to their children whenever they want. If there is any one area that divorcing couples should strive to cooperate, it is here.

Decisions must be made about who will have physical custody, what parenting time will look like, how child care will be handled, where holidays will be spent, who will make the day-to-day decisions, where the children will attend school, how religious instruction will be handled, what activities the kids will participate in, who will make support payments, who will provide medical insurance, pay for healthcare costs, and more. These can be heartbreakingly difficult negotiations, but decisions must be made.

Expect to Have Your Personal Life and Finances Revealed

Because divorce is the end of a legal contract, everything that has been purchased during the course of the marriage must be accounted for and distributed. 

Not only will couples have to make decisions about what happens with physical items, such as vehicles, boats, homes, photographs, televisions, dishes, and the like, they’ll also have to agree on how to split any savings or investments. It will also have to be determined how debts will be discharged. In many cases, the family home may have to be sold to cover these debts.

Work with an Experienced Divorce Lawyer

These are just a few examples of what you can expect when you’re heading into the divorce process. You can find more information on divorces in Minnesota at For divorce information in North Dakota, visit Divorcing is difficult, but with a good family law attorney, the process can be efficient. 

No matter the length of your marriage, it’s a good idea to hire an experienced divorce attorney to protect your interests and those of your children in divorce proceedings. Thorwaldsen and Malmstrom invite you to call our office when you need a divorce lawyer in Northwestern Minnesota or Northeastern North Dakota.