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Minnesota Divorce Laws

States regulate the manner in which marriages may be dissolved (i.e. divorce), just as they regulate the marriage process itself. These regulations often include residency requirements, waiting periods, acceptable grounds for divorce, and defenses to divorce filings. Like many family laws, the legal requirements for divorce have changed drastically over the course of history to reflect the times. For instance, a spouse who wanted a divorce had to first prove the other party's fault (such as adultery or desertion) before the advent of "no-fault" divorce.

Overview of Minnesota Divorce Laws

In order to get a divorce in Minnesota, state law requires at least one of the parties to have lived within the state for at least 180 days (with some exceptions), but there is no waiting period after the divorce case has been resolved. However, non-resident parties may get divorced in Minnesota if the civil marriage was performed in the state and their current state of residence does not recognize the marriage because of sexual orientation.

The grounds for divorce or separation in Minnesota are limited to "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship," another way of saying "no-fault" divorce. Additionally, the state does not recognize defenses to divorce or separation.

The following table highlights some of the main provisions of Minnesota's divorce laws. To learn more, see FindLaw's Divorce section.

Code Section Chapter 518, et seq.
Residency Requirements One party must have resided in state or been a domiciliary for 180 days before filing.
Waiting Period Decree entered immediately upon finding irretrievable breakdown, subject to appeal.
'No Fault' Grounds for Divorce Irretrievable breakdown.
Defenses to a Divorce Filing All abolished by §5l8.06.
Other Grounds for Divorce -

Note: State laws are constantly changing -- contact a local divorce attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Need Help Getting Divorced in Minnesota?

The Minnesota Judicial Branch maintains a helpful section on divorce at its website, including matters of children and property, an overview of the fees involved in the process, paperwork, and what to expect when you go to court. The site also has a guided flowchart to help you determine which forms you'll need. Also, see FindLaw's article on same-sex divorce.

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Minnesota Divorce Laws: Related Resources

Minnesota Divorce: Get Legal Help

If you're getting divorced, you're probably going through an emotionally draining process. It's rarely neat and tidy, but the best way to ensure a relatively successful divorce is to work with a qualified attorney. But before you sign a contract with a lawyer, consider having a Minnesota attorney evaluate your case for free.

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