Minnesota Divorce Laws

State divorce laws outline different state requirements, including grounds for divorce, divorce waiting and remarriage periods and residency requirements. Divorce laws also determine guidelines for deciding child and spousal support, child custody and property division.

What are some of the basic requirements for divorce in Minnesota?
Minnesota is a “no fault” divorce state. “No Fault” in this context means that the reasons why either spouse wants the divorce (i.e. infidelity, gambling problems, drug addiction, etc) will not be considered when the court determines whether to grant the divorce. However, some of these factors may be relevant when the court determines other portions of the divorce, such as asset distribution, custody, spousal maintenance (alimony), and child support. Simply put: if one spouse wants a divorce, the other spouse does not need to agree to it for the parties to obtain the divorce.

In Minnesota, two of the elements that must be met for the court to grant a divorce are:

  • At least one spouse lived in Minnesota for 180 days or more immediately prior to the commencement of the divorce; and
  • The marriage is “irretrievably broken”

Property Division in a Minnesota Divorce.

Minnesota law categorizes property as marital or non-marital.

Marital property is typically divided equally while non-marital property is allocated entirely to the spouse who maintains the non-marital interest.  Non-marital property involves the interest a spouse has in property obtained prior to a marriage or property received as a gift or inheritance by one spouse only, during a marriage.  Marital property, on the other hand, involves any property that the parties accumulate during their marriage, including:  home equity, retirement assets, bank accounts, investments, automobiles, boats, business interests, and other valuable property.

Experts are commonly hired to determine the value of property.  These experts include real estate appraisers, actuaries, business appraisers, and other individuals with specialized knowledge in determining the market value of an asset.  These experts can be retained by one or both of the parties in the divorce.

Once all property is valued, a balance sheet is created to provide the allocation of property each spouse will receive.  As can be expected, one spouse will typically receive more property than the other as items are divided.  When this occurs, a cash payment (equalization) is typically made from the party receiving more property to the party receiving less, in order to equalize the total value of the assets they receive from the dissolution of the marriage.

Debts are usually treated the same as assets.  Generally, the court will distribute all debts incurred during the marriage equally.  Debts that remain from a time preceding the marriage are usually given to the incurring the party.  The same is true for debts incurred after separation but before the divorce is final.  The value of a specific debt is typically verified through a recent statement from a bank or other financial institution.  Most often, the party allocated an asset will also take any debt that is attached to it.  A prime example involves a car: If one spouse keeps a car, they will normally have to assume responsibility for the debt associated with it.

A local divorce lawyer in Minnesota can further explain how Minnesota divorce laws may affect your divorce.  Contact a divorce lawyer near you to schedule a free preliminary consultation and learn more about Minnesota’s requirements and divorce laws.

Fill out a divorce case review form or call 952-361-5556952-361-5556 to get started today.

Note: Laws may have changed since our last update. For the latest information on state divorce laws, speak to one of our Minnesota divorce lawyers.


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