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Divorce Laws in Minnesota

If parents, in Minnesota, cannot agree on child custody or visitation, the court may order mediation. Mediation will be used as an attempt to reduce acrimony between spouses and to help them reach an agreement, but the mediator cannot force an agreement on either parent. If either parent, or any child involved, has been physically or sexually abused by the other parent the court will not order any activities where an attorney is not present.

Minnesota does not recognize common law marriage.

Residency and jurisdiction
At least one spouse must live, or be stationed by the military, in Minnesota for at least six months before filing for divorce.

Fault or no fault and grounds for divorce
Minnesota only grants no fault divorce, and only on the grounds of an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. In order to establish an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage the couple must have lived apart for at least six months, or claim serious marital discord.

Division of property
Minnesota is an "equitable distribution" State meaning the property is not divided 50/50 but rather in a manner that the court deems fair to both parties. If the couple cannot agree on property division the court will decide for them based on many factors including:

  • Length of marriage
  • Prior marriages
  • Age
  • Health
  • Station and occupation
  • Sources of income
  • Vocational skills and employability
  • Estate
  • Needs and debts
  • Potential earning capacity and ability to acquire assets
  • Contribution as a homemaker

Spousal support
In Minnesota, spousal support, if granted will end when either spouse dies, the receiving spouse remarries, or can be terminated by a court order. In determining spousal support the court must consider:

  • Length of marriage
  • Standard of living during the marriage
  • Property division
  • Ability to be or become self supporting
  • Loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and employability caused by the marriage
  • Child custody
  • Age and physical and emotional health of the spouse seeking support
  • Ability of the spouse from whom support is sought to pay support while remaining self supporting
  • Contributions to marital property
  • Contribution as homemaker to the other spouse’s career

Child custody and support
Minnesota requires both parents to attend co-parenting classes. These classes do not teach parents how to care for children, they teach divorcing parents how to work together to minimize the impact on the child. In determining custody the court must consider:

  • Wishes of the parents
  • Wishes of the child if the court believes the child is old enough to express a preference
  • Child’s primary caretaker
  • Intimacy of the relationship between parent and child
  • Relationship of the child with the parents, siblings and any other significant party
  • Child’s adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Length of time the child has lived in a stable and satisfactory environment, favoring maintaining stability
  • Permanence, as a family unit, of the parent’s home
  • Mental and physical health of everyone involved
  • Ability and willingness to give love, affection, guidance and to continue participation in any existing religion, culture and creed
  • Child’s cultural background
  • Effect on the child of the actions of an abuser
  • Willingness to foster a close relationship with the other parent, except in cases involving domestic abuse

Minnesota uses the Percentage of Income formula for calculating child support.

If you are considering or facing divorce in Minnesota, contact an experienced divorce attorney today.

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Disclaimer: Divorce law information contained throughout this page is intended to generally inform you about divorce law in Minnesota and introduce you to divorce lawyers throughout the U.S. The information regarding divorce and divorce law is not meant to be taken as legal advice. If you like to speak with an experienced divorce attorney, click on the link to your state to find an experienced divorce lawyer in your area for an initial consultation.
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