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Minnesota Divorce Laws


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Minnesota Divorce Laws:


At least one spouse needs to be a resident of the state for at least 180 days prior to filing for a divorce.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.07]


A petition for dissolution or legal separation should be filed for in the country where either spouse resides.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.09]


Irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.06]


Minnesota recognizes legal separation. A legal separation does not terminate the marital status of the parties, but rather determines the rights and responsibilities of both husband and wife arising out of the marital relationship. One or both parties can petition for a decree of legal separation and if neither party contests the granting of the decree nor petitions for a decree of dissolution, the court shall grant the legal separation. [Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.06]


If both parties jointly file the divorce petition, there is no need for a summons or service of the petition.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapters 518.09 and 518.11]


In cases where custody is likely to be contest, mediation may be ordered. Exceptions are when there is evidence of physical or sexual abuse. If agreement cannot be reached through mediation, the mediator may recommend that an evaluation be conducted.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.619].


Minnesota is an equitable distribution state. Marital property shall be divided without regard to marital fault, and will base the property distribution on the following factors:

  • Length of the marriage,
  • Age, health, and occupation of each party,
  • Income, income potential, vocational skills or each party,
  • The contribution of each spouse to the marital property, including the contributions as a homemaker [Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.58]

Alimony may be granted on a temporary or permanent basis, based on the following factors:

  • The financial resources of the spouse seeking maintenance, and their ability to meet their financial needs.
  • The time needed to acquire training and education to become self-reliant.
  • The standard of living established during the marriage.
  • If the spouse seeking maintenance is unable to seek employment due to the restraints of caring for a child whose condition or circumstances warrant that the custodial parent not seek employment outside the home.
  • The duration of the marriage, and in the case of a homemaker, the length of absence from the workforce.
  • The age and physical capabilities of the spouse seeking maintenance.
  • The ability of the other spouse to pay alimony and still meet his or her own needs.
  • The contribution of each spouse to the acquisition and care of marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker, enabling the other spouse to further their business or employment.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.552]


Joint or sole custody may be awarded, based on "the best interests of the child", with the relevant factors being:

  • The relationship between each parent and the child.
  • The child's primary caretaker.
  • The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference.
  • The child's adjustment to home, school, and community. Also considered is how long the child has been in a stable environment and the permanence of the custodial home.
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved.
  • The capacity and disposition of the parents 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.
  • Whether there is evidence of abuse, either between the parents, between the parent and another individual, or directed towards the child.

[Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.17]


Marital misconduct is not an issue in the determination of child support. Child support is based on the Minnesota Child Support Guidelines, also taking into consideration the following factors as basis for deviation:

  • The standard of living that the child has become accustomed to during the marriage.
  • The financial needs and resources, physical and emotional condition, and educational needs of the child or children to be supported.
  • Which parent will claim the child or children as a dependent for tax purposes, and what financial impact that will have.
  • The parent's debts.
  • Whether the parent paying child support is on public assistance.

If the parent receiving child support is on public assistance, child support shall be paid to the child enforcement agency as long as that parent receives assistance. Every support order must address income withholding for the obligated parent. [Based on Minnesota Statutes; Chapter 518.17 and 518.6111].

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