Minnesota Family Law on Domestic Violence

When most of us may hear the phrase "domestic violence," we tend to imagine a physical altercation between spouses. But domestic violence or domestic abuse under Minnesota law is not confined to a marital fight. Instead, the Domestic Abuse Act prohibits the occurrence of one or more of the following acts committed against a family or household member by a family or household member:

  • Physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;
  • The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or
  • Terroristic threats, criminal sexual conduct, or interference with an emergency call.

The Act further defines family or household members as spouses and former spouses, parents and children, people related by blood, people residing together or who’ve resided together in the past, people who have either an actual or an alleged child together, and people involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.

Family Laws on Domestic Violence

Minnesota’s domestic violence statutes in are highlighted in the following table.

Code Sections

MN Statutes §518B.01

Other Names

Domestic abuse

What Is Prohibited?

If committed against a family or household member by a family or household member:

Physical harm, bodily injury, or assault;

The infliction of fear of imminent physical harm, bodily injury, or assault; or

Terroristic threats, within the meaning of section 609.713, subdivision 1; criminal sexual conduct, within the meaning of section 609.342, 609.343, 609.344, 609.345, or 609.3451; or interference with an emergency call within the meaning of section 609.78, subdivision 2.

Statute of Limitations

3 years after the offense is committed.

Relationship Requirement

“Family” or “household member” means:

Spouses and former spouses;

Parents and children;

Persons related by blood;

Persons who are presently residing together or who have resided together in the past;

Persons who have a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time;

A man and woman if the woman is pregnant and the man is alleged to be the father, regardless of whether they have been married or have lived together at any time; and

Persons involved in a significant romantic or sexual relationship.

Penalties

MN Statutes §609.2242

Misdemeanor: An act with intent to cause fear in another of immediate bodily harm or death; or Intentionally inflicts or attempts to inflict bodily harm upon another.

Gross misdemeanor: Violation within ten years of a previous qualified domestic violence-related offense conviction.

Felony: Violation within ten years of the first of any combination of two or more previous qualified domestic violence-related offense convictions.

Types of Protective Orders Available

Order for Protection

Domestic Violence Resources

Minnesota coalition for Battered Women

Battered Women's Legal Advocacy Project

Day One - Domestic Violence Crisis Line

National Domestic Violence Hotline1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Minnesota Domestic Violence Protections

Minnesota's Judicial Branch has specific Domestic Violence Courts to address problems of domestic abuse. In addition to criminal domestic violence prosecutions, these courts can handle protection orders and peace orders. The courts have a specific Domestic Abuse and Harassment self help center, where you can find the necessary court forms for Orders of Protection in Domestic Abuse cases. Applications for Protective Orders can be filed in your local District Court.

Minnesota Child Support Guidelines: Related Resources

Domestic violence can be a frightening and serious episode. You can contact a Minnesota family law attorney if you would like legal assistance with a domestic abuse matter. You can also find additional information and resources on this topic in FindLaw's sections on Harassment, Restraining Orders, and Filing a Domestic Violence Lawsuit.

Next Steps: Search for a Local Attorney

Contact a qualified attorney.