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Key Aspects of Divorce in Minnesota to Remember

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Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process that can have significant legal and financial implications. If you are considering or going through a divorce in Minnesota, it is important to understand the key aspects of divorce in the state. This article will provide valuable insights into the divorce process in Minnesota, including important considerations such as child custody, property division, spousal support, and more.

Residency Requirements

Before filing for divorce in Minnesota, it is essential to meet the residency requirements set by the state. To file for divorce, either you or your spouse must have lived in Minnesota for at least 180 days before starting the legal proceedings. Additionally, one of you must be a resident of the county where you plan to file for divorce for at least 30 days before filing.

It is important to note that if you and your spouse have lived in different states or countries during your marriage, you may still be able to file for divorce in Minnesota as long as one of you meets the residency requirements.

Grounds for Divorce

Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, which means that you do not need to prove that your spouse did something wrong to obtain a divorce. The only grounds for divorce in Minnesota is the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. This means that the marriage cannot be saved, and there is no reasonable chance of reconciliation.

While fault is not a factor in obtaining a divorce, it may be considered when determining issues such as child custody or spousal support. For example, if one spouse has engaged in domestic abuse or financial misconduct, it may impact the court’s decision on these matters.

Child Custody and Parenting Time

When it comes to child custody and parenting time, Minnesota courts prioritize the best interests of the child. The court will consider various factors, including the child’s physical and emotional well-being, the child’s relationship with each parent, and the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s needs.

Minnesota recognizes two types of custody: legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious upbringing. Physical custody, on the other hand, refers to where the child will primarily reside.

In most cases, Minnesota courts encourage joint legal custody, where both parents have a say in important decisions. However, physical custody arrangements can vary depending on the circumstances. It can be sole physical custody, where the child primarily resides with one parent, or joint physical custody, where the child spends significant time with both parents.

Property Division

Minnesota follows the principle of equitable distribution when it comes to property division in divorce cases. This means that marital property is divided fairly but not necessarily equally between the spouses. Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage, while non-marital property typically includes assets owned before the marriage or acquired through inheritance or gift.

When dividing marital property, the court will consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s contribution to the acquisition of the property, the economic circumstances of each spouse, and any agreements made between the spouses.

It is important to note that equitable distribution does not always mean a 50/50 split. The court will strive to divide the property in a manner that is fair and just, taking into account the specific circumstances of the case.

Spousal Support

Spousal support, also known as alimony or spousal maintenance, may be awarded in Minnesota divorces. The purpose of spousal support is to provide financial assistance to the spouse who is economically disadvantaged or unable to support themselves after the divorce.

When determining spousal support, the court will consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, the financial resources of each spouse, the standard of living during the marriage, and the ability of the receiving spouse to become self-supporting.

Spousal support can be temporary or permanent, depending on the circumstances. Temporary spousal support is typically awarded during the divorce process to provide immediate financial assistance, while permanent spousal support may be awarded in long-term marriages where one spouse is unable to achieve self-sufficiency.


Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process, and understanding the key aspects of divorce in Minnesota is crucial. From residency requirements to child custody, property division, and spousal support, each aspect plays a significant role in the outcome of a divorce case.

By familiarizing yourself with the laws and regulations surrounding divorce in Minnesota, you can better navigate the process and make informed decisions. Remember, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can provide personalized guidance based on your specific circumstances.

While this article provides a comprehensive overview of key aspects of divorce in Minnesota, it is important to note that divorce laws can be complex and subject to change. Therefore, it is always recommended to seek professional legal advice to ensure you are fully informed and protected throughout the divorce process.

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