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Minnesota Divorce Information

The following information is to provide a basic understanding of the various aspects of divorce in the State of Minnesota.

You can get more specific information regarding Minnesota divorce laws using the links provided to Minnesota divorce laws or at your local library.

This information is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Before taking any action you should seek the advice of an attorney familiar with the laws in the state in which you will be seeking a divorce.

Every effort has been made to assure that the information contained in these pages is accurate however, due to the ever changing nature of the law some material may be outdated or may no longer apply.

Minnesota Divorce Resources

Residency Requirements No dissolution shall be granted unless (1) one of the parties has resided in this state, or has been a member of the armed services stationed in this state, for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding; or (2) one of the parties has been a domiciliary of this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding commencement of the proceeding.
Where to File A proceeding for dissolution or legal separation may be brought by either or both spouses and shall be commenced by personal service of the summons and petition venued in the county where either spouse resides.
Grounds for Divorce A dissolution of a marriage shall be granted by a county or district court when the court finds that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship.
Voluntary or required mediation Yes
Voluntary or recommended CounselingYes
Property Distribution The court shall make a just and equitable division of the marital property of the parties without regard to marital misconduct, after making findings regarding the property division. The court shall base its findings on all relevant factors including the following guidelines:
  • The length of the marriage
  • Any prior marriage of a party
  • The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, needs, opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets, and income of each party
  • The contribution of each in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property
  • The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker
It shall be conclusively presumed that each spouse made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while they were living together as husband and wife. The court may also award to either spouse the household goods and furniture of the parties, whether or not acquired during the marriage. The court shall value marital assets for purposes of division between the parties as of the day of the initially scheduled pre-hearing settlement conference, unless a different date is agreed upon by the parties, or unless the court makes specific findings that another date of valuation is fair and equitable. If there is a substantial change in value of an asset between the date of valuation and the final distribution, the court may adjust the valuation of that asset as necessary to effect an equitable distribution.

If the court finds that either spouse's resources or property are so inadequate as to work an unfair hardship, considering all relevant circumstances, the court may, in addition to the marital property, apportion up to one-half of the property otherwise excluded, to prevent the unfair hardship. If the court apportions property other than marital property, it shall make findings in support of the apportionment.
Child Custody Minnesota laws assign custody based on the "best interests of the child," meaning all relevant factors to be considered and evaluated by the court including:
  • The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody
  • The reasonable preference of the child as to custody, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference
  • The child's primary caretaker
  • The intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child
  • The interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interests
  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and community
  • The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity
  • The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved except that a disability of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custody arrangement is not in the best interest of the child
  • The capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child's culture and religion or creed, if any
  • The child's cultural background
  • The effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent
  • The disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.
The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others in determining custody of a child. Minnesota laws do not allow the court to consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect the custodian's relationship to the child.

Minnesota laws give each party the right of access to, and to receive copies of, school, medical, dental, religious training, and other important records and information about the minor children. The laws also give each party the right of access to information regarding health or dental insurance available to the minor children. Each party shall keep the other party informed as to the name and address of the school of attendance of the minor children. Each party has the right to be informed by school officials about the children's welfare, educational progress and status, and to attend school and parent-teacher conferences. The school is not required to hold a separate conference for each party. In case of an accident or serious illness of a minor child, each party shall notify the other party of the accident or illness, and the name of the health care provider and the place of treatment. Each party has the right to reasonable access and telephone contact with the minor children. The court may waive any of the rights under this section if it finds it is necessary to protect the welfare of a party or child.
Child Support The court will order a reasonable amount of child support to be paid by the non-custodial parent. Minnesota uses Income Share method to calculate how much support should be paid. The court can also order either or both parents to pay health insurance, medical and dental expenses and to pay part of child care costs.

The income share method considers the income or ability to earn income of both parents. It also looks at the number of children supported and either parent's children from previous marriages or relationships.

The court will also look at:
  • The income, resources, and needs of both parents
  • The needs of the children
  • The standard of living the children would have if the parents had stayed together
  • The amount of time that the parent paying child support spends with the children.
Spousal Support The court may grant a maintenance (alimony) order for either spouse if, under Minnesota laws, the spouse seeking alimony:
  • Lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for reasonable needs of the spouse considering the standard of living established during the marriage, especially, but not limited to, a period of training or education
  • Is unable to provide adequate self-support, after considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances, through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home
The alimony order shall be in amounts and for periods of time, either temporary or permanent, as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct, and after considering all relevant factors including the following guidelines:
  • The financial resources of the party seeking alimony, including marital property apportioned to the party, and the party's ability to meet needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian
  • The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking alimony to find appropriate employment, and the probability, given the party's age and skills, of completing education or training and becoming fully or partially self-supporting
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage and, in the case of a homemaker, the length of absence from employment and the extent to which any education, skills, or experience have become outmoded and earning capacity has become permanently diminished
  • The loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities forgone by the spouse seeking alimony
  • The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking alimony
  • The ability of the spouse from whom alimony is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking alimony
  • The contribution of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or in furtherance of the other party's employment or business
Unless otherwise agreed to in writing or expressly provided in the final divorce decree, the obligation to pay future alimony is terminated upon the death of either party or the remarriage of the party receiving alimony.

Minnesota Divorce Attorneys by County

Minnesota Divorce Mediators by County

This information has been compiled directly from the most recently available statutes online for each state. Every effort has been made to assure that this information is correct and complete. Be aware that laws frequently change. Do not take any action based on this information without first consulting an attorney to be certain that the laws pertaining to your particular situation have not changed.

The language used in most cases on this page is legal terminology taken directly from the statutes and laws of each state. The terminology is not always easy to understand. If you are not sure of something you should consult an attorney so that you can fully understand the meaning of the laws.

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