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(Deposit photos)
(Deposit photos)

Bar Buzz: Court expands divorce self-help

We’re informed that it is mere coincidence that a tweak to the Judicial Branch’s self-help divorce module is happening just as the governor’s COVID-19 stay-at-home order is forcing couples to spend w-a-a-a-y too much time together.

But that information appears reliable, because the tweak has been in the works for a few years, and the module’s most recent software implementation has taken a couple of months.

The end result is that the Minnesota Judicial Branch has expanded the virtual interview tool in its “Starting a Divorce in MN” web interface to all divorce types. The tool is included in the branch’s Guide & File self-help interface. The Judicial Branch announced the new rollout on April 22.

Guide & File has existed well before now, but it had only been available to help people contemplating divorces without children. Now it can help in divorces with children, jointly filed divorces with children and joint divorces without children.

The interface no longer requires the user to declare which type of divorce being sought. Instead, the virtual interview process will guide users so that they wind up populating the correct court forms with their responses.

Minnesota Guide & File is a web-based electronic tool that helps user create court forms in several types of court cases. In most situations, user can file forms electronically remotely through Guide & File or—when the courts are fully functional in normal times—print and file them at the state’s courthouses.

In addition to helping people file for divorce, the tool is available for conciliation court cases, evictions and restraining orders.

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About Kevin Featherly

Kevin Featherly, who joined BridgeTower Media in mid-2016, is a journalist and former freelance writer who has covered politics, law, business, technology and popular culture for publications and websites in the Twin Cities and nationally since the mid-1990s.

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