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Are you certain you really want a divorce?

The courts are not like other places you may go. When you file a divorce case in a Minnesota family court, you become subject to the jurisdiction of that court and the authority it is granted by the state Constitution. And while Minnesota family court is empowered to dissolve your marriage, it must follow the rules set up by the legislature and the state Supreme Court.

This means it can only accept certain types of cases or grant specific requests. If you ask it to do something that is outside of its authority, it will likely refuse as a couple in New Hampshire found when they asked a family court in that state to vacate a divorce decree they had obtained a year earlier.

The couple had been married for 24 years when they divorced in 2014. It appears that they reconciled their personal differences and apparently were business interests that were organized in such a way that "undoing" the divorce would have been simpler than remarrying.

The state Supreme Court denied their request, as the state law only permits a divorce decree to be set aside in cases involving "fraud, accident, mistake or misfortune." None of these conditions applied in their situation.

The high court was concerned that changing the standard would make divorce decrees appear less "final." Given the amount of litigation that develops surrounding divorce, child custody, child support and other related family law matters, it is likely the court wanted to reinforce the seriousness of obtaining a divorce.

If you have decided that your marriage is over and you need to divorce, you should first look at the consequences of a divorce with an attorney, including how it will affect jointly owned businesses.

Because divorce can affect all areas of your life, you should examine every aspect, from child custody to potential tax consequences caused by having to sell an interest in a business before invoking the authority of the court.

Source: nbcnews.com, "New Hampshire Couple Seeking to Undo Their Divorce Gets Turned Down," Associated Press, December 27, 2015

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