Sunday, July 29, 2007

Self-Help Center

This "virtual" Self-Help Center is for people with a legal matter in Minnesota District Courts. The information here is not a substitute for legal advice. You should to talk with a lawyer licensed to practice law in Minnesota to get legal advice on your issue.

See Disclaimer and What Court Staff Can and Cannot Do for You.

Divorce, Family
& Juvenile Law Court Fee
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Tenant Guardianship &
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Problems Conciliation Court
(under $7500) Probate, Wills
& Estates
Name Change Civil Cases
(over $7500)
More Legal Topics...
Judgments Settle Out
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Link to LawHelpMN MN Attorney General's Office

The Minnesota Judicial Branch makes no endorsement or warranty of quality of services by linking to an organization from this website.

Find self-help centers in all MN State Courts

Find answers to legal questions, legal aid offices and more.

Family Law
Domestic Violence, Divorce, Child Support, Paternity, Visitation
Landlord-Tenant, Public Housing, Discrimination...
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Debts, Cars, Loans, Credit, Utilities, Scams…
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Migrant Workers
Employment, Housing, Public Benefits, . . . .
Low Income Tax Credits, Your Tax Refund...
Individual Rights
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Public Benefits
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Health Care
MA, Medicare, MinnesotaCare, Nursing Home Rights...
Youth Rights
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Self-Help Legal Information

Dakota County Family Court Self Help Center is a program that any Dakota County resident with a family court case can use this program. There are no restrictions on income to use this free service. You can receive a free 30 minute consultation from a volunteer attorney, who can offer advice and legal assistance regarding family law matters such as: marriage dissolution, child custody, child support , visitation , paternity issues, spousal maintenance, and domestic abuse. These volunteer attorneys can provide answers to legal questions, offer procedural advice and help fill out court provided forms. provides answers to legal questions, contact information for legal aid offices, links to courthouses and local community organizations. This site is provided by the Minnesota Legal Services coalition, the Minnesota State Bar Association and the Legal Service Coalition. It has links to the legal aid programs but this program does not provide representation. You can put in your county and type of case to get a list of possible organizations that might help you.

State Courts “virtual" Self Help Center has information and links to legal resources to help you represent yourself in Minnesota District Courts. This site is provided by the State Court Administration.

State courts approved forms is the Minnesota Judicial Branch Court forms for forms approved by the courts.

Other programs that have free lawyers for some types of civil cases in Dakota County:

Southern Minnesota Regional Legal Services is a federally funded civil legal services program provides free representation to low income people in Dakota County (as well as other counties in south eastern Minnesota) with some types of civil case such as public assistance, housing issues for tenants, education law, fair housing and discrimination, and citizenship. Intake telephone number is (651) 222-4731.

Minnesota Disability Law Center helps with legal needs of persons with disabilities. A statewide project, MDLC provides free civil legal assistance to individuals with disabilities on legal issues that are related to their disabilities. New Client Intake for metro: (612) 334-5970.

Minnesota AIDS Project provides direct representation or consultation provided to low income people with AIDS if legal issue stems directly from an individual's HIV status or directly impacts the health of an individual with HIV disease.

Chrysalis Center for Women offers a range of legal services and resources to provide assistance with family, GLBT and employment law concerns, including a law clinic, legal information sessions referrals and a safety project. Chrysalis has several programs of advice and information for women in Dakota County. There may be a small fee for some services. Sliding fees apply. Call (612) 871-0118 for information and registration.

Volunteer Attorney Network provides volunteer attorneys for some civil cases for low income people in Hennepin County. They provide volunteer attorneys only for bankruptcy cases for Dakota County low income people. Intake number is 612-752-6677.

LawHelpMN this site also has links to the legal aid programs; you can put in your county and type of case to get a list of possible organizations that might help you.

Referrals to attorneys in private practice:

Legal Assistance of Dakota County

Legal Assistance of Dakota County (this site) (952) 431-3200 provides names of attorneys who practice in Dakota County in any desired area of law.

Minnesota State Bar Association has a referral service for attorneys throughout the state.

Lawyers for low income people with criminal matters:

Minnesota Public Defender’s Office provides free lawyers, appointed by the court, in criminal matters. If you are low income and are charged with a crime, ask the judge for appointment of a public defender at your very first court appearance. The telephone number for the office of the public defender in the First Judicial District, which included Dakota County, is (651) 480-0122.

If you are being hurt or threatened by a family member:

If you are being hurt or threatened now, call 9-1-1

Dakota County Community Action Council's Domestic Violence Outreach Service is a safety net for women who experience domestic violence in Dakota County - requiring police intervention - in their homes. Trained family support workers are available 24 hours a day, every day, to talk things over in person or over the phone. Help is available 24 hours a day. Call Lewis House in Eagan (651) 452-7288 or in Hastings (651) 437-1291

Day One Services provides access to safety for battered women and their children in any location in Minnesota. Call 1-866-223-1111. You will be automatically connected with the closest safe place in your area.

Casa de Esperanza

If you are a Latina in Minnesota, call the Casa de Esperanza Crisis Line 651-772-1611.

Other Information – not legal representation

Dakota County Government

All county information --

Health Topics -- Topics such as Caring for Ourselves and Families, Child Care Providers, Healthy Living, Assisting Veterans, Get the Help You Need, Paternity and Child Support, Reporting Abuse & Preventing Violence, Foster Care Providers.

To Apply for Public Assistance -- All applications for assistance are taken at the County's Northern Service Center:
1 Mendota Road West, Suite 100 , West St Paul, MN 55118-4765
Main number: 651-554-5611
Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00a.m. – 4:45p.m.
Walk-in Intake Hours: Monday-Friday 8:00a.m. – 9:45a.m.

Child Support or Paternity Services An application for child support/paternity services is also available:
By mail - Call (651) 554-5689 or (651) 554-5852 to request an application
At county service centers - Hastings, Apple Valley, or West St Paul
Online - from the Minnesota Child Support Enforcement Division web site.

Support and Collections Services For application for support and collections services and information on child support enforcement. General questions on child support call Dakota County at (651) 554-5909. Questions on applying for services call (651) 554-5689 or (651) 554-5852.


Minnesota Cold Weather Rule —
Information about when heat can be shut off in winter.

Consumer Connection Web
The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office answers questions and takes complaints on a variety of consumer concerns

MN Dept of Commerce -
Consumer and heating assistance information


Americans with Disabilities Act -
This site has a guide to disability rights and questions and answers about this law.


SMRLS’s Education Law Advocacy Project —
Links to fact sheets and other links for school issues such as discipline, disciple for students with disabilities, education rights for homeless youth, etc.


Housing Link
A non-profit organization that provides information about housing. It does not provide housing or have direct lists of housing for individuals.

Fair Housing - Disability Discrimination

Fair Housing Advocate, National

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Landlords and Tenants: Rights and Responsibilities,

Manufactured Home Park Handbook
A Minnesota Attorney General Site

Legal Research

Code of Federal Regulations

Federal Register


Minnesota Statutes and Session Laws

MN State Court Forms

United States Code

Public Benefits

Covering All Families
Eligibility screening tool for many of the benefit programs in Minnesota

Energy Assistance Program
From the Minnesota Department of Commerce

Food Research and Action Center (FRAC)

Food Stamps Pre-Screening Eligibility Tool
USDA Food and Nutrition Service site

Minnesota Legal Services Advocacy Project
Minnesota Legal Services Advocacy Project does not provide direct legal services to clients

Minnesota Department of Human Services

Minnesota DHS Manuals

Social Security
Links to Social Security Regulations and other useful links for Social Security cases


Benefit Checkup
A free, easy-to-use service that identifies federal and state assistance programs for older Americans.

Medicare Training Module
An advocate's reference from AARP via National Center on Poverty Law

Minnesota Kinship Caregivers Association
Advocates for, supports, and provides information and resources to people raising their grandchildren.

National Senior Citizens Law Center,

Senior Citizens Resources
A Minnesota Attorney General Site

Court Rules

Recent Rules Orders

6/29/2007 (Effective August 1, 2007): Supreme Court Promulgates Amendments to the Minnesota General Rules of Practice for the District Courts, Title IV, Rules of Family Court, Form 3 - Appendix A

06/26/2007 (effective July 1, 2007): Supreme Court Promulgates Amendments to the Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure and the Rules of Adoption Procedure

05/21/2007 (effective July 1, 2007): Supreme Court Promulgates Amendments to Rules Of Civil Procedure

04/30/2007 (effective July 1, 2007): Supreme Court Promulgates Amendments to Rules of Public Access to Records of the Judicial Branch

2/15/2007 (effective April 1, 2007): Order Promulgating Amendment To The Rules Of Criminal Procedure

1/08/2007 (effective January 1, 2007): Order Promulgating Corrective Amendments to the Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure

12/29/2006 (effective January 1, 2007): Order Promulgating Amendments To General Rules Of Practice

12/29/2006 (effective July 1, 2007): Order Promulgating Amendments To The Rules Of Professional Conduct

12/29/2006 (effective January 1, 2007): Order Promulgating Corrective Amendments To The Rules Of Adoption Procedure, The Rules Of Guardian Ad Litem Procedure In Juvenile And Family Court, And The Rules Of Juvenile Protection Procedure |

Order Promulgating Amendments To The Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure, The Rules of Adoption Procedure, The Rules of Guardian Ad Litem Procedure, and Related Guardian Ad Litem Rules (effective Jan. 1, 2007)

Order Promulgating Corrective Amendments to Rule 8, General Rules of Practice

Order Promulgating Corrective Amendments to Rule 50, Rules of Civil Procedure.

Order Promulgating Corrective Amendments To Form 508.1 Of The General Rules Of Practice

Order Promulgating Amendments To Rules Of Civil Procedure And Related Amendments To General Rules Of Practice And Rules Of Civil Appellate Procedure

Order Promulgating Amendments To General Rules Of Practice



Minnesota Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure: HTML, Word DOC, Adobe PDF

Appendix of Forms


Minnesota Rules of Civil Procedure: Word DOC, Adobe PDF

Appendix of Forms


Minnesota Rules of Criminal Procedure (Effective 4/1/2007): Word DOC, Adobe PDF

Appendix of Forms


Minnesota Rules of Evidence: Word DOC, Adobe PDF


Minnesota Rules of Juvenile Procedure (Delinquency, Juvenile Petty Offenses and Juvenile Traffic) Effective 1/1/2007: Word DOC, Adobe PDF

Appendix of Forms


Minnesota Rules for Guardian Ad Litem Procedure


Minnesota Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure (with amendments effective July 1, 2007): Word DOC, Adobe PDF


Minnesota Rules of Adoption Procedure (with amendments effective July 1, 2007): Word DOC, Adobe PDF


Minnesota Rules of Professional Conduct

Programs and Services

The Minnesota Judicial Branch offers a variety of programs and services to District Courts and members of the public:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution, a process which provides alternative methods to help people resolve legal problems before going to court;
  • Application process for Bail Bond Agents;
  • The Children's Justice Initiative, a collaboration between the Minnesota Supreme Court, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, and child protection system stakeholders in each county, including judges, social workers, county attorneys, guardians ad litem, attorneys for parents and children, and other key stakeholders, designed to improve the processing of child protection cases and the outcomes for abused and neglected children;
  • The Court Interpreter Program, which regulates the certification process of court interpreters and the policies for the use of interpreters in the courtroom;
  • The Expedited Child Support Process, an expedited judicial process for deciding paternity and child support matters for parties who either receive public assistance or formerly received public assistance, or have applied for child support enforcement services;
  • The Guardian Ad Litem Program, which provides advocates who represent the best interests of abused and neglected children in court; and
  • Minnesota State Law Library, a full service legal research and information center, serving the bench, the bar, and the public since 1849.

Court Forms

To be sure you have all the forms required to handle a specific legal problem, click on the [Packet] title, and then download every form that appears in the packet list. CAREFULLY READ THE INSTRUCTIONS for the packet so you fill out and file the forms correctly.

NOTE: The information provided here is not a substitute for legal advice. You are strongly encouraged to speak with an attorney. Please read the Court Forms Disclaimer. If you have questions about the forms, contact Forms Staff.

Court Forms Categories:

NEW! Child Support Law Changes in 2007


Starting January 1, 2007, child support will be calculated under a new formula called "INCOME SHARES." This formula will only be used in cases filed AFTER January 1, 2007. Read the new law at Minnesota Statutes, Chapter 518A.26.

During 2007

The new Income Shares formula will be applied in any marriage dissolution (divorce), legal separation, paternity action, or other action where child support is ordered for the first time, or changes an existing child support order. The Income Share formula applies to all cases filed in court after January 1, 2007.

Pre-existing child support orders will not automatically change because there is a new law. For one year starting January 1, 2007, modifications of pre-existing child support orders are allowed only in limited situations, or if the parties agree to change the support. See Limits to Modifying Existing Orders in 2007.

Key Terms

  • The general legal concept of "child support" is made up of three (3) parts:

1) basic support = costs for a child's housing, food, clothing, transportation, and education costs, and other expenses to care for the child

2) medical support = health insurance and other medical/dental costs

3) child care support = child care costs when parents go to work or school

  • "Joint child" is a dependent legal child of both parents in the support action.
  • "Non-joint child" is a dependent legal child of one, but not both parents, in a support action. [NOTE: A step-parent is not considered the "legal" parent of his/her step-child, unless the step-parent legally adopted the child.]

Important Factors

  • The Income Shares formula includes the gross income of BOTH parents in figuring the amount of child support.
  • The amount of court-ordered parenting time (visitation) is considered in calculating "basic support." If a parent has the child between 10% and 45% of the time, the parent gets a 12% adjustment (reduction) in child support owed. If the parenting time is less than 10%, there is no adjustment to child support. Percentage of time is generally calculated by counting overnights the child spends with the parent.
  • The law presumes that both parents can or should work and earn an income. The Income Shares formula considers this "potential income" as a factor in determining support.
  • By law, if the parties do not provide specific details about their income, the court will set child support based on other available evidence, including past work experience, the current legal minimum wage, or it will set a minimum amount provided for in the law.

Online Calculator

The Child Support Enforcement Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services created an online calculator with instructions to figure out the amount of child support under the new law. Click Child Support Calculator to go to their website.

Financial Affidavit Form Required

If parents with joint children are parties to a court action involving child support, the law now requires that each parent complete a Financial Affidavit showing all sources of income. See the law at Minn. Stat. 518A.28. Each parent must serve the other party and file the Financial Affidavit with the court along with their initial pleadings or motion documents. A party must use the Financial Affidavit form provided by the Department of Human Services, and the form and instructions can be downloaded from the DHS website by clicking Financial Affidavit Form.

Links to More Child Support Information

« Back to Child Support Home

« Back to Divorce, Custody & Family Law Home

« Back to SHC Home

Judicial Directory

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Judge Donald J. Aandal
Marshall County

View Judge Donald J. Aandal's full bio »
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Hennepin County

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St. Louis County

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Judge Lawrence Agerter
Dodge County

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Judge H. Albrecht
Hennepin County

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Hennepin County

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Hennepin County

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Justice Agency Resources

This web page includes resources that are useful to the courts and to various justice agencies. Some of these resources are web pages maintained by the courts, and others are links to web pages maintained by other agencies.

Supreme Court

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The Supreme Court Justices:

Oral Arguments:

View Supreme Court Oral Arguments as streaming video

About the Court:

Court of Appeals

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The Court of Appeals Judges:

Significant Decisions:

About the Court:

Dakota County

Van A. Brostrom, Court Administrator
Dakota County Judicial Center

1560 Highway 55
Hastings, Minnesota 55033
Phone: 651-438-8100
Business Hours: Monday - Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

2007 Holiday Schedule

Can't find what you are looking for? Please see the frequently asked questions section.

The following cases are processed in all three court locations in Dakota County: West St. Paul, Hastings, and Apple Valley:

Family, conciliation court, harassments, order for protections, traffic and misdemeanor cases, unlawful detainers/evictions, name changes, divorces.

Cases processed only in Hastings:

Juvenile, felony and gross misdemeanor, adoptions, probate/estates, guardianships/conservatorships,

A new file may be opened at a court location as designated above.

Documents for an existing file must be filed in the location the file was opened or where originally filed.

Notice Criminal Continuance Policy Effective 7-1-2006

Frequently Asked Questions - Jury Service

How was I selected for jury service?

Why must I serve? What happens if I do not serve?

What are the qualifications for jury service?

Who can be excused from jury service?

May I postpone my jury service?

How long does jury service last?

What do I do if I need special accomodations?

Will I be paid for my jury service?

Do I get reimbursed for child care while serving as a juror?

Is jury pay taxable?

Does my employer have to let me leave work to serve?

Does my employer have to pay me while I serve?

Do I get a verification of jury service for my employer?

How was I selected for jury service?

Each year, the Minnesota Judicial Branch obtains names from driver’s license, state ID card and voter registration lists and compiles that information into a composite source list. From that list, individuals are then randomly selected by computer.

Why must I serve? What happens if I do not serve?

The Constitutions of the United States and the State of Minnesota guarantee defendants in criminal cases and litigants in civil cases the right to a trial by jury. As a prospective juror, you have an opportunity to participate directly in a critical component of our democracy.

Prospective jurors who fail to appear are mailed a letter requesting compliance. If there is still a failure to appear, the Chief Judge may issue a bench warrant ordering the prospective juror to appear before the court to show good cause for the failure to appear. Failure to appear for jury service is a misdemeanor.

What are the qualifications for jury service?

A prospective juror must be:

  1. A United States citizen;
  2. A resident of the county;
  3. At least 18 years old;
  4. Able to communicate in the English language;
  5. Physically and mentally capable of serving;
  6. A person who has had their civil rights restored if they have been convicted of a felony;
  7. A person who has not served as a state or federal juror in the past four years.

Who can be excused from jury service?

A person who has received a jury summons will be excused for any of the following reasons:

  1. Not a citizen of the United States;
  2. Not a resident of the county;
  3. Not yet 18 years old;
  4. Unable to communicate in the English language;
  5. Provided a doctor’s note indicating that there is a physical or mental disability preventing jury service;
  6. Has been convicted of a felony and has not had their civil rights restored;
  7. Has served as a state or federal juror within the past four years;
  8. Is a judge currently serving in the judicial branch of government.

A prospective juror who is 70 years of age or older can be excused without providing evidence of an inability to serve, but may choose to serve if able.

May I postpone my jury service?

If the period of time on your summons presents a hardship due to employment, vacation, family business or any other hardship, you can request a deferral of service. Contact your county jury manager to request a postponement.

How long does jury service last?

The length of the term of service varies from county to county, depending on county population. Contact your county jury manager for the specific term of service for your county.

What do I do if I need special accommodations?

If you need special accommodations, such as a sight or sign language interpreter, hearing amplification, or special seating, please contact your county jury manager so they know what type of assistance you will need. If you cannot be reasonably accommodated, you may ask to be excused by providing copies of documents verifying your condition.

Jurors are paid $20 for each day that they report to the courthouse plus roundtrip mileage from home to the courthouse at the rate of 27 cents per mile.

Do I get reimbursed for child care while serving as a juror?

Jurors who are normally caring for their children during the day can be reimbursed for childcare expenses up to $50.00 per day in addition to other fees paid. Ask your county jury manager for more information.

Is jury pay taxable?

The $20 per diem must be reported as income for tax purposes. You must keep a record of the amounts you receive as no tax has been withheld and no W-2 forms are furnished. However, you do not need to report mileage or child care reimbursement as income. 1099 forms are furnished only to those jurors who receive $600.00 or more in juror compensation.

Does my employer have to let me leave work to serve?

Your employer must allow you time off to serve on a jury. That is the law. Minnesota statute prohibits any employer from firing or harassing an employee who is summoned for jury service. However, you must let your employer know well in advance, as soon as you receive your summons. You should contact the court if you have a problem with your employer. Remember that you can postpone jury service to a more convenient time. Read your summons carefully or contact your county jury manager to find out how to request a postponement.

Does my employer have to pay me while I serve?

There is no Minnesota law that requires employers to pay employees while serving jury duty. Some employers do pay normal salaries to employees serving on a jury. You will need to check with your employer. Also, individuals who belong to labor unions may be covered through their union contracts.

Do I get a verification of jury service for my employer?

Upon request, the county jury manager can provide you with a written verification of the days that you reported for jury service.

Monday, July 23, 2007

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