Minnesota residents seeking a divorce may want the whole process over with as soon as possible, so they can move on with their lives. However, it is important to keep in mind that there are lot of steps in the divorce process that must be completed before the divorce can be finalized.
First, a person initiates the divorce through a Summons and Petition. The divorce process starts when one party files a Summons and Petition regarding their request for a divorce, and then "serves" the document on the other party. There are specific rules regarding how the service must be handled. If each party is in agreement on how to settle all of their divorce legal issues and can both sign the same documents, then they can submit a Joint Petition for divorce.
After being served with the Summons and Petition, the party receiving it must write and serve the other party with an Answer. An Answer is the receiving party's response to the Summons and Petition. If the parties decide they are in agreement with their divorce legal issues, one or both of them can prepare a number of forms, including a Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgement and Decree.
Following the Answer, the parties may file motions. In a motion, a party requests that the judge make a decision regarding a divorce legal issue. The judge may also issue other court orders, including temporary orders.
Finally, there is the Divorce Decree. The official name of the divorce decree is Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree. The judge will sign this document and then court administration "enters" it. This concludes the divorce process.
Keep in mind that the information in this post is only meant to provide a general overview of the divorce process, and cannot serve as the legal basis for any divorce action. Any person considering getting a divorce should seek legal advice. A family law attorney understands what information needs to be included in each form and how to properly serve it or file it with the court.
Source: Minnesota Judicial Branch, "Divorce/Dissolution," accessed Aug. 22, 2016