Minnesota

Minnesota men’s divorce attorneys provide answers to frequently asked questions with regards to the divorce process and divorce laws in Minnesota.

What are the grounds for divorce in Minnesota?

Minnesota is considered a “no fault” state. This means that you do not need the consent of your spouse to obtain a divorce, nor are the reasons why you want a divorce considered in granting the divorce. In Minnesota, the courts can enter a divorce decree upon showing that:

• One of the parties has lived in the state for 180 days prior to the commencement of the proceedings

• The marriage is irretrievably broken

What is a divorce going to cost me? Can I afford it?

Unfortunately, there are no set numbers on how much your divorce will ultimately cost. You do have several options in lieu of trial that will cut costs such as mediation and settlement discussions.

Do I really need to hire a divorce lawyer?

It is possible to complete your divorce without representation by an attorney. However, it is not recommended as this process is emotional and often more difficult than originally expected. A men’s divorce lawyer can ensure that your interests are protected during the process as well as give you valuable advice on the overall proceedings.

Does Minnesota grant divorces based on marital fault?

No. Minnesota is a no fault state.

Can I get maintenance or will I have to provide maintenance to my spouse?

Maintenance is never a guarantee in divorce cases as there is no set formula for determining the length or amount of the awards. The court will look at all relevant factors in determining the appropriateness of a maintenance award, including:

• The financial resources of the party seeking maintenance;

• The time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment and that party’s future earning capacity;

• The standard of living established during the marriage;

• The duration of the marriage;

• The age and physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance; and

• The ability of the spouse, from whom maintenance is sought, to meet his or her own needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance.

Can I change my name at the time of divorce?

Yes, though you must request your name be restored prior to the finalization of your decree. The name change must be made in good faith with no intent to defraud or mislead anyone by the change of name.

Can I get an annulment?

An annulment treats the marriage as though it never happened.

A marriage may be annulled if:

A.) One party was not able to give their voluntary consent to the marriage at the time of the marriage ceremony because:

1. One party has a mental illness, insanity, mental incapacity and the other party did not know about the mental illness, insanity or mental incapacity at the time of the marriage ceremony;

2. One party was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other “incapacitating” substance at the time of the marriage ceremony;

3. Consent was obtained by force or fraud.

B.) One party is not able to “consummate” the marriage with sexual intercourse and the other party did not know this at the time of the marriage ceremony.

C) One of the parties was under the legal age for marriage. The legal age for marriage in Minnesota is age 18, or age 16 or 17 only with the consent of the parents, a guardian, or the court and approval of the application for a marriage license by a Juvenile Court Judge.

When can I file for divorce in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, you must have been a resident of the state for 180 days prior to the filing for divorce.

When is my divorce case going to be over?

The court may grant your divorce any time after the filing of the Summons and Petition. The length of the proceedings depends on the amount of litigation involved.

Do I have to go to court for my divorce?

In Minnesota, if an attorney represents you and the other party it is possible to file all dissolution documents administratively, which allows you both not to show up to court to finalize the divorce.

However, there are several appearances, if necessary, that are required in your divorce proceeding whereby you will be required to appear before the judge.

If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

If you have attempted to serve your spouse but are unable to complete service, depending on the circumstances you may be able to provide service by publication or certified mail upon the court’s permission.

At what point during the process can a spouse remarry or start dating?

Legally you cannot be married to more than one person at the same time. Therefore, until your divorce decree is entered you cannot remarry. The decision to begin dating again is a personal decision that only you can decide when the time is right.

What if my spouse does not want the divorce?

In Minnesota, you do not need the consent of your spouse to obtain a divorce. You simply need to show that the marriage is irretrievably broken. If your spouse is denying this requirement, be prepared to attend court-ordered mediation or even possibly go to trial.

Do the other issues – child support, child custody, spousal maintenance, and property – have to be decided before the divorce is final?

Generally, yes. However, in certain situations it is possible to bifurcate your divorce proceeding and have the court retain jurisdiction over the remaining issues while entering your divorce decree.

Also, Child Support Magistrates are capable of handling all child support proceedings. This can be done prior to the final dissolution or post-dissolution.

How long do I have to live in Minnesota before I can get a divorce?

You must live in Minnesota for the previous 180 days for the court to have jurisdiction over your dissolution. You are allowed to live in different counties so long as they are all in Minnesota.

After I file for divorce, do I have to continue to live in this state?

No. However, Minnesota will still retain jurisdiction over your dissolution proceedings unless all parties involved agree to a change of venue.

What if I am in the military and out of state?

There are special rules concerning military personnel and it is recommended if you are in the military and would like a divorce that you consult with a divorce attorney.

What forms do I need to file a divorce?

The initial filing of the dissolution will require a Summons, Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, Confidential Information Form and if necessary, the financial affidavit of child support. You will then be required to have your spouse personally served with these documents.

How and where is a divorce complaint filed?

The Petition for Dissolution of Marriage is filed with the clerk of the court, in the jurisdiction where you live. Visit the Minnesota Courts website to find your jurisdiction and the amount of the filing fee.

How do I serve the divorce complaint on my spouse? How long do I have to wait to receive my divorce?

The easiest way to serve your spouse is to use a private process server, the sheriff’s department, or have anyone that is over 18 and not an interested party to the case give your spouse the documents. However, any of the above methods do require an affidavit of service to be filed with the court.

How is a divorce granted in Minnesota? Will I have to go to court?

Once you have met all the requirements given by the court in your divorce proceedings (i.e. mediation, parenting class, ICMC, etc.), the court will review your file – if non-contested – and enter your divorce. Keep in mind that not every dissolution will have the same requirements.

If there are still matters that require court assistance to resolve, you will have to have a trial, where you will need to appear before the judge and present evidence and testimony.

What typically happens if I go to court to obtain my divorce myself?

If you are trying to obtain your dissolution on your own and there are children involved, you will be required to have at least one hearing in front of the judge. You will have to use the generic documents provided by the courts such as the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Judgment and Decree. These documents will not be specific to your needs or specific fact situation.

How do I prove fault for divorce?

Minnesota is a no fault state, therefore fault does not need to be and should not be proven.

At any time can a parent change a minor child’s last name without the other parent’s permission?

No minor child’s name may be changed without both parents having notice of the pending application of change of name. The applicant must show proof that the non-applicant parent(s) has received notification of the Application for Name Change of a Minor.

Can a couple become legally married by living together as man and wife under the state’s laws (common law marriage)?

Minnesota does not recognize common law marriage.