January 7, 2020

Step by Step Guide: How Do You File for a Divorce in Minnesota?

How to File for Divorce in MN | Segal Duffek Moen

In Minnesota, divorce is legally known as dissolution, which has finality and requires that all aspects of the termination of the marriage be decided. How you file for a divorce in Minnesota can be quite easy or difficult depending on the detailed circumstances of the marriage and whether the two parties are in agreement or not on the terms on which to divorce. You can start with this step by step guide for filing for a divorce in Minnesota.

Requirements to File for Divorce in Minnesota

To file for dissolution, one party must have residency in Minnesota for at least 180 days, at which point a filing can be made. Other than that requirement there is no mandatory period of waiting or separation before you are allowed to divorce in Minnesota.

Grounds for Filing for Divorce in Minnesota

There is no need to establish fault to file for divorce in Minnesota as it is a pure ‘no fault’ state for the grounds for dissolution of a marriage. Consequently, you will file for dissolution because the marriage has irretrievably broken down with any need to establish fault by either party. Though not relevant for filing, questions of fault may arise in deciding the division of assets and child custody arrangements if the case ends up going to trial.

What is Required for a Summary Dissolution?

The simplest divorce process in Minnesota is what is called a summary dissolution. This can be moderately fast, but a summary dissolution is only possible in a limited set of circumstances where there is very little to determine and no children involved. You can jointly apply for a summary dissolution if all of the following conditions are satisfied.

  • There are no children or pregnancies.
  • Married eight years or less.
  • No history of domestic abuse.
  • No real estate to be divided.
  • Marital assets amount to $25K or less.

If this describes your circumstance is it likely you can apply for a summary dissolution which will be granted if everything checks out. This can happen within weeks without the need to appear before a judge.

When do I Need a Joint Petition for Dissolution?

As you can see, the requirements for a summary dissolution are fairly stringent, and many divorcing couples will find they do not meet them. Many marriages involve children or real estate holdings or substantial assets, meaning they will not qualify for summary dissolution. Even if you do not satisfy one or more of the requirements for a summary dissolution, it is still possible to get a relatively speedy resolution if you are both in agreement on all the issues and present this to the court. This is called a joint petition for dissolution, and it is imperative that all issues are worked out in advance and presented as a comprehensive and reasonable solution to the court. You and your spouse must file an agreement stating this with the petition. The joint petition will involve providing a great deal of information so that the court can be convinced that everything has been thought out properly. You may still be required to attend a brief hearing so that the court can be satisfied you are in agreement and understand the implications. Having legal representation is one way to increase the court’s confidence that the proposed agreement is reasonable and proper. This process may be completed in just a few weeks, even though you do not meet the requirements for summary dissolution.

What About a Regular Petition for Dissolution?

In a regular petition for dissolution of the marriage one person files and serves Minnesota divorce papers to the respondent. If the respondent disagrees with any points, then the court will consider it contested and order it to trial. A contested divorce can take a long time, even many years, depending on the complexity and resolve of the parties to not give in on any points of disagreement. However, it is possible to reach an agreement on all or any points and present that formally to the court in the form of a stipulation at any time. If agreement on all points is reached and this is stipulated to the court, the process can conclude quickly if the court is satisfied that this is a reasonable and proper solution. Otherwise, the court will ultimately decide the matter at trial.

It is up to the divorcing couple to understand the Minnesota court’s process for dissolution. If you file incorrectly or choose the wrong option out of ignorance, your case can be thrown out meaning you have to start all over again. If you are looking to get divorced, there are plenty of tips for filing a divorce in Minnesota available. If you want the help of a Minnesota divorce attorney, contact the Law Offices of Segal Duffek Moen to schedule an appointment today.

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