Practice Areas

  • Collaborative Divorce        
  • Other Divorce Processes
  • Custody, Parenting Time & Support
  • Wills & Estate Planning

Collaborative Divorce

The Collaborative Process of divorce enables you to shape your family’s future in a climate of mutual respect and understanding. Each spouse hires an attorney who is trained in the Collaborative Process and promises in writing NOT to go to court. A settlement is then negotiated in “four-way” meetings between spouses and their attorneys. In many cases, neutral professionals such as financial specialists, child specialists and “divorce coaches”, and are utilized in a team-based approach.

The cornerstone of a Collaborative Divorce is the “Participation Agreement,” which is signed by both spouses and requires both attorneys to withdraw if either party decides they need to go to court. Most people find that once the potential threat of litigation is removed, they are able to shape their own constructive settlement agreement that helps each person move forward with integrity.  Even with the services of additional professionals, collaborative divorces are consistently less expensive and are completed more quickly than litigated divorces.

The Collaborative Law Institute of Minnesota  is a non-profit association of professionals who are specifically trained in the Collaborative Practice.

  • Search for a collaborative professional near you.
  • View Dave Dustrud’s profile page at the Collaborative Law Institute.
  • Read the CLI Blog to learn more from our collaborative professionals.

The International Academy of Collaborative Professionals is a world-wide network.  Click here to learn more about how Collaborative Practice works.

Other Divorce Processes

Other options exist if the Collaborative Process isn’t the right fit for your family.  Those options include:

One-to-One Negotiations
I can give you the  necessary tools  to negotiate your own settlement with your spouse. Once your agreements are finalized, I will draft the legal documents required to file them with the court. If your spouse hires an attorney to review those documents (always a good idea), I will work with that attorney to finalize language that is acceptable to both of you.  Once approved, I will file the documents with the court and let you know as soon as the divorce is completed.

If you and your spouse prefer to use a neutral party to help you negotiate your agreement, I can refer you to a qualified divorce mediator who will lead you through that process. Once your agreement is finalized, I can draft and file the necessary legal documents for you.

If you have been served with a Summons & Petition or need to serve one yourself, I can help you navigate the family court system. Thankfully, even after a case is filed, most judges will strongly encourage the parties to use a neutral-mediated process to reach a final agreement. This saves you money and allows you to retain a voice in the final outcome.

While going to court should be a last resort for most divorcing parties, sometimes it is the wisest course of action. For example, if your spouse or co-parent is unable or unwilling to negotiate, a judge will make sure that the conversation continues to move forward.  Naturally, if there are physical or emotional safety issues for you and/or your children, a judge can order the protection you need.

Custody, Parenting Time & Support

Custody & Parenting Time

If you are an unmarried or divorce parent and cannot agree with your co-parent on issues of custody and parenting time, I can help you establish, modify or enforce a court-order.  Please note that a court MUST make decisions that are based on the best interests of the child.(Read the “best interests” factors in Minn. Stat. 518.17.)

Child Support

Minnesota law provides that child support obligations can be modified when a change in circumstances justifies it.  I can help you with this or with the enforcement of a current child support order.  Click here to use Minnesota’s Child Support Guidelines Online Calculator.

Spousal Maintenance

If you have a spousal maintenance order (also known as alimony) that needs to be modified or enforced, I will first work with your ex-spouse or their attorney to achieve a negotiated solution. If that turns out not to be possible, I will help you file the necessary legal paperwork to seek the result you’re looking for.

Wills & Estate Planning


A will puts you in charge of how your assets will be handled when you are gone. Without a will, a court will follow Minnesota’s intestacy laws to make those decisions in your place. Also, failure to plan carefully can result in paying more estate taxes than required by law. You can be confident that your assets will be preserved and distributed according to your wishes by taking the time to plan for the administration of your estate.

Health Care Directives

A Health Care Directive empowers someone you trust to make health care decisions on your behalf in the event you can’t speak for yourself. It also ensures that your “end of life” wishes will be followed.


A Power of Attorney allows you to designate a trusted individual to handle your financial matters on your behalf.