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Minnesota Divorce Process

When you're having marital problems and want something more permanent than a legal separation, you'll likely opt for getting a divorce. Each state has its own requirements for obtaining a divorce, which means every jurisdiction has a unique divorce process with its own laws, procedures, and terminology.

For instance, in some states, "divorce" and "dissolution" refer to two separate processes. However, in many states, including Minnesota, the terms "divorce" and "dissolution" and "dissolution of marriage" are used interchangeably.

Minnesota Divorce Process Overview

Breaking down statutes using familiar terms and everyday language is a great way to understand the law and make it more accessible to your situation. See the chart below for a helpful breakdown of the laws covering Minnesota's divorce process.


Minnesota Statutes Domestic Relations Chapter 517-519A:

  • Section 518.002 (divorce meaning)
  • Section 518.003 (definitions)
  • Section 518.005 (rules governing proceedings)
  • Section 518.06 (dissolution of marriage)
  • Section 518.07 (residence of parties)
  • Section 518.09 (venue)
  • Section 518.091 (summons)
  • Section 518.131 (temporary orders/restraining orders)

Divorce Requirements


No-fault Divorce

Minnesota is a no-fault state, which means that a spouse doesn't have to commit an "offense" to cause the breakdown of the marriage. Either spouse can file for divorce if they want one. However, fault issues might be relevant to spousal maintenance, child custody, or the division of marital property.

Residency Requirements

  • One of the spouses has resided in Minnesota, or
  • is a member of the armed services and has had residency in the state, 
  • for at least 180 days.

Divorcing couples that have children must attend a divorce class if they don't agree about child custody and visitation terms.

Divorce Proceedings

Either spouse may start the dissolution proceedings by serving the other spouse with a summons and petition. The respondent has 30 days to answer the petition.

Temporary Orders

The court may grant temporary orders until the final proceedings for the following:

  • Temporary custody and parenting time concerning any minor children
  • Temporary maintenance for either spouse
  • Temporary child support for the parties' children
  • Temporary costs and reasonable attorney fees
  • Temporary use and possession of the home
  • Restrain parties from transferring or disposing of property
  • Restrain parties from harassing, mistreating, or disturbing the peace or liberty of the other party or children

Settlement Agreement

If the parties reach an agreement about the terms and don't need a judge to intervene, then they can sign a settlement agreement.

Judgment Decree

If an agreement isn't reached, then a hearing will be held. After the judge hears the evidence, the court will make the final determination. The Judgment Decree is the final document. After the judge signs it, your divorce is considered final.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Minnesota Divorce Process: Related Resources

Discuss the Minnesota Divorce Process With an Experienced Attorney

Going through a divorce can be difficult due to the emotional toil it brings, and understanding the laws and how they apply to your situation may also be confusing. If you need help navigating Minnesota's divorce process, get in touch with an experienced divorce attorney in your area.

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