Legal separation is much different than an informal separation where the couple may simply live apart. The court uses legal separation as a tool to determine the responsibilities and rights of each spouse. This is done without dissolving the marriage. Many of the same issues that are addressed in a divorce are addressed by the court in a legal separation. For instance, one spouse may have to pay spousal support to the other. If children are involved, child support may be paid to the custodial parent.

Other issues that may be addressed include:

  • Use of the marital home
  • Use of marital assets
  • Finances
  • How income taxes will be filed
  • Child custody
  • Parenting time
  • Medical insurance for the children

Once legal separation is established, the couple lives apart as if they are divorced without actually going through a divorce. If the couple decides to reconcile later, they can do so. If this sounds like an option that is for you, you can talk to your Twin Cities divorce attorney about what you feel is the right move for you and your family.

As for your attorney’s role, it is about giving you answers to your questions. You will also be faced with choices and you will need to know the outcome of each of those choices so you can make the right decisions.


Considering a divorce?

There may be some things you can do in advance of initiating a formal proceeding to protect your interest.  The initial consultation with one of our attorneys is free and may provide some practical strategies as you consider your path forward.


When a divorcing couple is not in agreement on how to handle issues related to children, support, property, or other financials, they may need to litigate their dissolution through Court proceedings. Our attorneys work hard to reach agreements so that the Court is not left to decide what works best for you and your family. When the Court is left to decide, our attorneys are experienced litigators who can represent you through trial if necessary.

The court-dictated process of litigating a divorce proceeding includes alternative dispute resolution in various forms to try and reach agreements before the court intervenes. If settlement is not reached the case will proceed to pretrial and subsequently trial unless settled by the parties.

In the collaborative divorce process meetings are held between the parties and experts until agreements are reached at which time a divorce decree is submitted to the court.


The division of assets and debts is a major part of the divorce process, which is why it is imperative to have an experienced divorce attorney representing your interests so you can receive the best possible outcome in this phase of the divorce and at the conclusion of the entire divorce process.

In Minnesota, the parties can expect equitable division of assets and liabilities. Equitable division means that the assets and debts are divided in a fair way, but it isn’t necessarily an even split between the spouses. Everything from the income of the parties and how much they owned prior to the marriage is evaluated when determining how assets and liabilities are to be divided.

The division of property and debts is a complicated process. In fact, it can be one of the most complicated aspects of divorce. There can be financial consequences, such as taxes, that should be considered when determining which pieces of marital property you want to pursue. It is also possible that additional filings and documentation may be needed so you can properly pursue a piece of property.


Marital property and debts involve everything that was acquired during the marriage. It doesn’t matter if an asset or liability is solely in the name of one spouse or the other, it is considered a marital debt or asset and can be given to either party. Examples of marital property and debts include:

  • Investment accounts
  • Retirement accounts
  • Bank accounts
  • Real property, such as a vacation property or cabin
  • Timeshares
  • Airline miles
  • Vehicles
  • Credit card debt
  • Loans

Non-marital assets and debts are those that were incurred before the marriage. Certain assets that were acquired during the marriage can be excluded as marital property, such as property that was inherited by one of the spouses or property that was gifted specifically to one spouse.

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