Minnesota has long been a leader in making divorce less awful. We've led the way with collaborative lawyers, mediators (who guide couples without offering legal advice) and co-parenting coaches. We have early neutral evaluation (ENE) to help divorcing and never-married parents move more quickly and cheaply through the courts. Here are some new ideas that build on those concepts:

Private divorce: A bill gaining traction in the Legislature would allow divorcing couples to complete an online form, then submit agreements on finances, children and more. The agreement could be modified at any time.

Wevorce.com: This online system takes couples through every aspect of divorce, offering legal, financial and emotional help for an average price of $6,000.

Dads are important: Minnesota, sadly, is not among a growing number of states moving to an assumption of 50-50 parenting-time arrangements. But legislators are acknowledging that children need both parents in their lives.

Discernment counseling: This new form of short-term counseling, focusing on "mixed agenda" couples where one wants to divorce and the other doesn't, explores whether the marriage can and should be saved (discernmentcounseling.com).

Gail Rosenblum