Minnesota attorneys can practice law anywhere in the state – that is, licensed Minnesota attorneys are not restricted to practice law by county or city. Also, laws concerning divorce, custody, and other family matters do not vary from county to county. Minnesota judges – regardless of where they sit – are required to apply the same laws. It is important to note, however, the different counties may have unique filing methods or case management procedures in family law matters. For example, many counties (especially in the metropolitan area) are starting to accept divorce documents electronically. Hennepin and Ramsey counties – the two (2) biggest counties in the state – started to permit e-filing in the summer of 2012. Now, e-filing is mandatory in family cases in Hennepin and Ramsey counties, and voluntary in counties like Washington and Dakota. Hennepin and Ramsey counties also differ with respect to courthouse locations. Most counties, especially counties in greater Minnesota, have one (1) courthouse for all cases – e.g. criminal, family, civil, probate, etc. Hennepin and Ramsey have a single courthouse dedicated solely to family law cases. For example, the Family Justice Center (110 South 4th Street, Minneapolis, MN) in Hennepin County is where divorce, custody, and child support cases are held. Likewise, in Ramsey County, many family law cases are held at the Juvenile and Family Justice Center (25 West 7th Street, St. Paul, MN). Lastly, it is worth mentioning that most counties in Minnesota have developed some form of Early Case Management (ECM), a model designed to facilitate a speedy resolution in family court proceedings. To view a map of the counties that have implemented ECM, click here. As part of this process, parties in family court proceedings (and their attorneys, if represented) attend an informal conference before the judge, usually within a few weeks of case filing. This conference is called the “Initial Case Management Conference”, or ICMC for short. If you are going through a divorce or another family law matter, like custody or child support, contact the Minnesota divorce attorneys at Alithis Family Law. Our experienced attorneys, who provide services throughout Minnesota and understand the differences in case management from county to county, provide free consultations.

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