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Minnesota Divorce Facts

When going through a divorce in in Minnesota, it's helpful to have some key information. Below you will find some of the most important facts everyone getting a divorce in the state of Minnesota should know. The facts listed here are only a selected few of the more comprehensive set of Minnesota Divorce Laws available for your reference. Remember, every state's law is different, and if you're not sure about a law in your state, you should ask a qualified Minnesota Divorce Professional.

  • One spouse must have been a state resident for at least 180 days prior to filing for divorce.
  • Minnesota is a no-fault only state. The divorce petition must state either that the parties have been living separately for 180 days or more or that there is "serious marital discord" with no chance of reconciliation.
  • Couples have the right to file for divorce if they experience an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship. All other fault grounds, such as adultery, cruelty and insanity are no longer recognized in Minnesota.
  • Marital property, which is all assets and debts acquired during the marriage, is divided "equitably," in a manner the court believes is "fair." Separate property is not considered marital property, and it includes property acquired before marriage, gifts and inheritances. The income or increase in value in this property is also separate property.
  • When dividing property, courts consider the length of the marriage and prior marriages; personal and financial circumstances of each party, with respect to age, health, education and earning capacity, and the contributions of each spouse to marital property, including homemaking.
  • The spouses must be prepared with information about property, including date of purchase, an estimate of value, and details such as account numbers, serial numbers and so forth.
  • A court can award alimony to either spouse. Support is appropriate if a spouse isn't capable of self-support due to a lack of property, suitable employment or has custody of a child and cannot work outside the home.
  • Courts look at many factors in deciding support amounts. A spouse may be entitled to maintenance if he or she cannot support himself or herself despite any marital property received after distribution. Financial resources, employment, education and the personal circumstances of each spouse are considered. A court examines several factors to determine if maintenance is appropriate, and if so, how much and for how long. They include (1) the duration of the marriage, (2) the standard of living enjoyed during the marriage, (3) each spouse's age and health, (4) each spouse's assets, income or ability to earn income, (5) the time needed for the requesting spouse to receive training or education and obtain sufficient employment in order to support himself or herself and (6) the owing spouse's ability to pay. A court can order temporary support while the divorce is pending. Most maintenance is ordered for a specific length of time. Once maintenance is ordered, it can be modified upon a showing of a substantial change in circumstances.
  • When custody is in dispute, a Minnesota court issues a custody order that is in the "best interests of the child." Joint custody will only be awarded if parents have shown the court that they are willing and able to cooperate. A court also examines several factors with the child's welfare in mind. They include (1) the child's preference, (2) each parent's health, (3) the child's health and whether any special needs exist, (4) each parent's relationship with the child, (5) which parent has been the child's primary caretaker, (6) each parent's ability to provide a stable environment for the child, (7) any history of domestic violence or child abuse and (8) any parent's false allegations of abuse.
  • The non-custodial parent is responsible for paying child support. In Minnesota the amount of child support is based on the non-custodial parent's income and the number of dependent children. A court may adjust the support amount at its discretion. Factors examined for adjustment include: (1) the custodial parent's income and assets, (2) any extraordinary financial needs the child may have, such as medical or educational expenses, (3) the child's standard of living during the parents' marriage and (4) whether the paying parent receives public assistance.

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