Divorce In Minnesota

Divorce In Minnesota | How to Get a Divorce & Process (Guide) 2024

Divorce in Minnesota is known as the dissolution of marriage in Minnesota. When the final documents are filed and recorded in the court’s records, the court “dissolves” or ends the marriage.

The verdict and decree represent the final paperwork. The court’s ultimate judgment on all matters pertaining to the divorce proceeding is contained in the decision and decree

These encompass issues including child custody, parenting time, child support, spousal support, and the distribution of assets and debt. The Court system adjudicates divorce proceedings.

How Do I File for Divorce in Minnesota?

When you file for a divorce in Minnesota, you have a few options to consider:

DIY Divorce

DIY Divorce

One may decide to handle the separation oneself if one wants to save money. Although it costs the least to divorce this way, it does necessitate some effort and careful planning. Understanding and adhering to MN’s regulations is necessary.

Parents Name
Wages & Income
Non-Custodial Parent
Custodial Parent

This includes knowing what forms you’ll require, how to complete them correctly, where to file the paperwork, and what to do next. If you and your spouse have an uncontested divorce, sometimes known as an “agreed” divorce, in which you both agree on all matters pertaining to the dissolution of your marriage, this choice is more likely to be advantageous to you.

Online Divorce

Online Divorce

Alternatively, you could start an online divorce. An online divorce service will still save you effort and stress by giving you the appropriate, completed questionnaires (depending on your responses to a questionnaire) and essentially guiding you through the remainder of the divorce procedure for a relatively low charge. Typically, to qualify for these services, you must have an uncontested divorce.

Legal Representation

Legal Representation

You might conduct your divorce the conventional way by hiring a lawyer. A lawyer might be required or, at the very least, strongly encouraged in several situations.

Legal Separation

Numerous people believe that in order to reside apart, a couple must obtain a “legal separation.” That is untrue. Before deciding to obtain a divorce, many couples choose to live apart for a while.

Couples who don’t want a divorce should consider a legal separation (usually for religious reasons). However, they require a method for resolving custody, support, and property issues when they are not cohabitating. The same kinds of choices are made by the court as in a divorce. However, the couple is still legally married, and the asset partition is not complete.

Divorce and legal separation are similar processes as long as divorce takes. A new case must be initiated if a legal separation is granted by the court and the husband or wife later decides to file for divorce. A legal separation is not required before beginning a divorce.

Qualifying for a Minnesota Divorce

In order to apply for divorce in Minnesota (also called “dissolution of marriage” you must be a resident of the state. Before filing your initial divorce papers, either you or your spouse must have lived in the state for a minimum of 180 days or must have been deployed there as a member of the armed forces.

Additionally, you must demonstrate a “ground” for divorce or a justification that is recognized by state law as a valid basis for ending the marriage. Both “fault” and “no-fault” grounds for divorce exist in several states.

Whenever you accuse your partner of misconduct, including infidelity, physical or emotional abuse, or desertion, fault grounds are applicable. Neither spouse is blaming the other for the breakdown of the marriage on no-fault grounds.

MN only permits no-fault divorces. The only legal basis for divorce is an “irretrievable breakdown of the married connection,” which means there is no chance of reconciliation.

Preparing Minnesota Divorce Forms

You’ll locate and fill out a variety of paperwork in order to begin the separation procedure without a lawyer. You can seek a packet of divorce documents from your local courthouse or law library, obtain the necessary forms online, or use an online divorce service to obtain the paperwork and have it filled out for you.

Various sets of paperwork are available based on whether you and your partner:

  • Jointly parent minor children (under age 18 or 18 and still in high school).
  • Have been jointly pursuing a divorce and have reached a settlement on all matters pertaining to the dissolution of your union, including child custody, parenting time (visitation), child support, alimony (or spousal maintenance), and splitting your assets and debts.

You and your partner may submit a “Joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage” if you have reached an understanding (with children or without children). Making a combined divorce petition in MN simplifies the procedure and reduces filing costs. 

For Minnesota’s even easier “Summary Dissolution” divorce procedure, different forms are available. However, there are stringent guidelines. To be eligible, you must demonstrate that:

  • You don’t share any minor children with your husband, and neither of you is expecting a child.
  • By the time you petition for divorce, you have been married for fewer than eight years.
  • Neither of you is a property owner.
  • Not including auto loans, you have less than $8,000 in delinquent debts (acquired by one or both of you during the marriage).
  • Your marital assets, including net equity on autos, have a total fair market value of no more than $25,000.
  • You both don’t own any independent assets that are worth more than $25,000.
  • Neither one of you has ever experienced domestic abuse at the hands of the other spouse.

A Parenting/Financial Disclosure Statement must be submitted along with the other forms if you have children but haven’t decided on child support. You could be required to include more paperwork, such as tax records and pay stubs.

When filling out this form, it’s crucial to be entirely honest because omitting to list all of your assets and liabilities could result in penalties, including fines and even prison sentences.

The Minnesota courts have a self-help center, which includes a section on divorce-related issues and links to videos that can be used to better understand Minnesota divorce law and how to fill out the paperwork.

You can also prepare the divorce forms you require using the Minnesota Guide and File online consultation, which is available on the court’s webpage. The spouse filing for divorce is referred to as the “petitioner” on the paperwork, and the other spouse is referred to as the “respondent.”

Where to File Your Divorce Papers

Make a minimum of 2 copies of each document and submit them to the district clerk of court in the county in which you or your partner resides whenever you are ready to complete your divorce papers. 

For your paperwork to be filed, you must pay a charge. County district courts tack on their own minor costs in addition to the standard 365-dollar statewide fee. (Here is where you may find the application fee for your county.)

One can request the court to waive the charge if you are financially unable to do so. Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis, which you can obtain from the court clerk or online, is the document you’ll use to file your case. If you meet the requirements, the court will inform you after reviewing your application.

The local prosecutor will date-stamp each documentation you submit with your request for divorce and other divorce-related paperwork, make a file for you, and provide you with stamped copies of each document for you and your partner.

Take note it is possible to submit your paperwork electronically through Minnesota Guide and File. However, when you’ve done so, all other paperwork you need to submit for the remainder of your divorce must be submitted electronically.

Next Steps in Your Minnesota Divorce

You may not be required to take any further action to complete your divorce in Minnesota if you have already submitted a joint divorce petition. Your papers, including your proposed settlement, will be examined by the judge.

If everything goes smoothly, the court will approve the final divorce decree and mail you a notification indicating your divorce is complete. If not, you’ll receive a notice requiring you to appear in court for a hearing.

You should swiftly provide your partner with the divorce documents, which include the application and a summons if you have filed for a contentious divorce. Sending the documents to your partner (or your spouse’s attorney) and asking to forego formal distribution is the simplest way to accomplish this. 

A Waiver of Service of Summons will need to be signed and returned by your husband. Respondents who choose not to waive service will be responsible for covering the costs associated with having the documents delivered by the sheriff’s department or another authorized process server. The waiver or affidavit of service must be submitted to the court in any case.

Personal service isn’t always an option, like when you can’t locate your partner. In those circumstances, enquire with the court clerk about the “alternative” service procedures.

When divorce papers are served on a responder, they have 30 days to submit an answer. If they fail to do so, the judge may declare them to be in “default,” in which case the petitioner’s spouse may be granted all of the relief that was asked for in the petition. The respondent spouse has the option to submit a counter-petition in addition to responding to the petition, asking the court for specific “relief” like custody or alimony.

What were my rights before the divorce?

The privileges of the partners are equal. Whether you live apart from your partner or with them, your constitutional protections are the same in both situations.

If the marriage has children, both partners have an equal right to make the following decisions:

  • where the kids reside
  • where the kids attend school
  • whether the kids need to go to the doctor

Consider the best intentions of the kids if there is no danger to them. It’s crucial for kids to keep their connections with both parents intact.

You aren’t required to let the kids go if you are concerned that your spouse would hurt them or not bring them home. To maintain them in your house, though, you do need a court order.

Any assets that the couple possesses can be used or disposed of by either spouse. For instance, both parties can make withdrawals from a combined financial institution or make purchases using a shared credit card. Any spouse may utilize a vehicle that is registered in each of their names. This general rule has a few exceptions. Checks made payable to the other spouse cannot be cashed by either spouse. 

If a bank account is only in the name of one spouse, neither can withdraw money from it. A vehicle registered in the name of the other spouse cannot be sold by either spouse. Real estate that is owned by one or both spouses cannot be sold by either party.

A partner has no legal authority to dispose of any assets in advance of a divorce. The judge can still order the couples to split the proceeds from a retirement plan, for instance if one spouse cashed it out so the other wouldn’t get it.

The family court judge can typically order one spouse to bear responsibility for the obligations of the other spouse, even if that spouse was unaware of or did not consent to the debts.


It is conceivable to initiate a divorce in Minnesota on your own, but it may not always be the wisest course of action. You would be better off hiring a lawyer in a variety of circumstances, such as when you have large or highly complex investments to divide (such as retirement accounts), your spouse already has legal representation, there has been domestic abuse in your marriage, or the two of you simply can’t reach an understanding on all the problems, even after trying mediation.

If you have the money, you might also just prefer the assurance that comes with entrusting your divorce to a specialist who is familiar with Minnesota’s laws and court procedures.

Keep in mind that you’ll probably have to deal with the outcomes of your case long after the divorce is final. There’s no assurance you’ll be able to fix an error if you find out later that you made one. Therefore, it pays to do it correctly the first time around.


Is Minnesota a 50-50 state when it comes to divorce?

Minnesota is a state with equal distribution of wealth. This does not imply that everything will be divided equally. However, the law presupposes that any property gained during the marriage, especially your home and another real estate, would be distributed equally.

How long does a divorce take in MN?

In Minnesota, an uncontested divorce can often be finalized in four to six weeks. When the procedure is contested, it can take longer to complete and may end up in court if the parties cannot agree on important points.

How long do you have to be separated before divorce in Minnesota?

You and your spouse have been living apart for at least 180 days; there is severe marital strife that is negatively affecting the attitudes of either (or both) spouses toward the marriage, and there is no realistic chance of reconciliation.

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