Getting a divorce in St. Paul
Ramsey County provides many resources
For a state-level overview, please see:
- Divorce in Minnesota, Part 1, which discusses the possible benefits of counseling, domestic violence in general, and the fact that men, too, can be victims of domestic violence;
- Divorce in Minnesota, Part 2, which continues with many, more-traditional links for statewide agencies and facilities that can help with domestic violence, as well as links for the state judicial branch's self-help site, which explains basics such as--
- residency requirements,
- children, property & settlements,
- a link to state divorce statutes,
- fees & venues for filing, and
- advantages of the joint petition.
Local resources for help with domestic violence
Let's revisit the idea from Parts 1 & 2 that counseling may be the best place to start--and that domestic violence must certainly be urgently addressed. Although true, it's also worth remembering that a well trained, experienced attorney can help in both those areas, providing referrals to respected therapists and leading the way with filing protective/restraining orders or securing emergency shelter.
That being said, it may be worthwhile to look over some Minnesota Public Radio pieces about domestic violence in your area ( 1. Police, advocates an effective team for helping domestic violence victims; 2. Calls from jail shed light on intimate crime). Following are links to several local authorities and facilities that can help:
- St. Paul Police, Family & Sexual Violence Unit;
- Ramsey County Sheriff's Office;
- County-city Joint Domestic Abuse Prosecution Unit;
- Second District Court, Domestic Abuse/Harassment;
- Bridges to Safety;
- Minnesota Resources for Fathers;
- HUD's list of local emergency/transitional shelters.
Venue for filing
Administered by the the Second Judicial District, serving Ramsey County, the Ramsey County Family Court is where your divorce papers will be handled:
Second Judicial District Family Court
Room 160 Ramsey County Courthouse
15 West Kellogg Boulevard
St. Paul MN 55102
Early case management
One feature of this family court is referred to as ECM, described by the court as follows (click on the link to read the whole page):
The fair and efficient administration of justice requires that all cases in family court receive timely attention. This requires the judicial system to handle cases expeditiously and with consistency, fairness and sound decisions. The court manages the process and disposition of the cases before it. The Early Case Management (ECM) approach that was implemented in July, 2009, uses aggressive case management timing by establishing judicial intervention on cases within three to four weeks of filing. The initial meeting with the judicial officer is called an Initial Case Management Conference (ICMC). The judicial officer's involvement soon after the filing encourages the parties and their attorneys (if represented) to focus on resolving and narrowing the contested issues that are barriers to settlement.
According to the Family Court Self-Help Center, it "provides unrepresented (pro se) parties with access to forms available from the Minnesota Judicial Branch, explains processes and procedures to pro se parties, provides information about other resources to assist pro se parties, and reviews pro se party documents for completeness and adequacy. These services are limited to dissolution of marriage, child support, paternity, custody and parenting time matters in Ramsey County." If you are considering filing pro se (that is, without an attorney), be sure to read the whole page and consider signing up for their clinic.
Family Court FAQ
The court also has a FAQ page, which addresses several topics, but also emphasizes that "A marriage dissolution can be a very complicated matter; you may wish to speak with an attorney before proceeding. If you choose to represent yourself, you will have the same responsibilities as an attorney to follow legal procedures and rules, and court staff cannot provide legal advice to you."
No matter your marital situation, we can help. If you're ready to begin the search for a compatible, well trained, experienced divorce attorney, you can start with our free case evaluation. If you need more information, please browse our site, using the tabs at the top of the page.