Minnesota is a “no-fault” divorce state, which means if you or your spouse decide that your marriage is beyond reconciliation, and a judge agrees, then the court will issue a divorce order to begin the process of dissolving your marriage contract. There doesn’t need to be a finding of fault in order for Minnesota to permit the termination of a marital relationship. The only finding that a court needs to make is that there is an incompatibility of temperament between the two partners. The court can make this determination based on the testimony of only one of the spouses.
Grounds for Divorce
Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage is the only ground for divorce in Minnesota. An irretrievable breakdown means you and your spouse have no intention of reconciling. This is considered a no-fault divorce.
Residency Requirement and Waiting Period
You must be a resident of Minnesota for at least six months before you can file a petition for divorce; you may file the petition in the county where either spouse lives. If you do not have children, and you sign an agreement about the terms of the divorce, the judge may enter a final judgment 20 days after the petition was filed. If you do have children, the judge may enter a final judgment if both spouses are represented by attorneys and both agree to the terms of the divorce.
Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, meaning marital property is divided between spouses based on what is fair and equitable (the division doesn’t have to be equal, though). Marital property is any property acquired during marriage including real property (your home), possessions, and income earned during marriage. The court will consider several factors to determine how to divide property, including the length of the marriage, each party’s age, health, occupation, income potential, and future needs, and each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. Property that was acquired by either spouse before marriage or after separation is considered that spouse’s separate property and is not subject to division by the court. Need more information about property division? Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.
Alimony (Spousal Support)
One spouse may be required to pay temporary or permanent spousal support to the other spouse. The judge will review several factors to determine whether a spousal support award is appropriate, such as both spouses’ financial resources and earning ability, the time needed for the receiving spouse to acquire employment training or education, and each spouse’s contributions to the marriage. Additional factors may include the marital standard of living and the length of the marriage. To modify a permanent spousal support award, the person requesting the modification must show that circumstances have changed so substantially that the current order is no longer appropriate. Need more information about spousal support? Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.
Parents in Minnesota are obligated to financially support their child until the child graduates high school or turns 19. Child support is calculated based on state guidelines, and you can estimate how much support you may have to pay here. In addition to the state guidelines, the court may also consider the child’s accustomed standard of living, financial needs and resources, and medical and educational expenses, and may adjust the support amount accordingly. To modify an order, the parent seeking a modification must show a substantial change in circumstances or demonstrate that the support order deviates from the established child support guidelines. The Department of Human Services is responsible for enforcing child support orders in Minnesota. Looking for more information about child support? Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.
Minnesota courts encourage parents to share parenting responsibilities and judges make all custody orders based on the best interest of the child. This means that the court will consider the wishes of the parents, and child if the child is old enough to express a preference, as well as the child’s relationship with each parent, the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community, and each parent’s ability to encourage contact between the child and the other parent. The court will also look at which parent is the primary caretaker and which parent will provide mental, physical, and emotional support to the child. Once an order is in place, the court will not modify a child custody order unless the parents agree or there is a substantial change in circumstances of the child or parents. Looking for more information about child custody? Contact our office to schedule a free consultation today.
Minnesota does allow for an annulment of a marriage under the following five circumstances:
- (1) that the party in whose behalf it is ought to have the marriage declared void was under the age of legal consent, and the marriage was contracted without the consent of the parents, guardian, or person having charge of that party, unless, after attaining the age of consent, the party for any time freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
- (2) that either party was of unsound mind, unless that party, after coming to reason, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
- (3) that the consent of either party was obtained by fraud, unless that party afterwards, with full knowledge of the facts constituting the fraud, freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
- (4) that the consent of either party was obtained by force, unless that party afterwards freely cohabited with the other as husband and wife;
- (5) failure to consummate the marriage at the time of the marriage and continuing at the commencement of the action.
Contact Attorney Kenneth M. Wasche for a Free Initial Consultation
Consultations can be scheduled on-site at attorney Kenneth M. Wasche’s Twin Cities office or off-site as necessary. To schedule a free initial consultation with an Minnesota family law lawyer, call 763-280-5100 or send us an email.