Minnesota divorce details
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Uncontested VS Contested Divorce in Minnesota
There are two main ways to arrange your dissolution of marriage - contested or uncontested.
A contested divorce leads to several more court hearings, heated debates, and huge expenses for attorney fees. Each party is eager to win and get more from the other.
On the other hand, an uncontested divorce implies that both spouses mutually agree on their desire to get a divorce. As a result, they are more or less ready to cooperate in order to receive the Certificate of Dissolution as soon as possible. Furthermore, an uncontested divorce only has one final hearing, so it takes much less time and money.
Uncontested Divorce in Minnesota
An uncontested dissolution of marriage in Minnesota can be quite and easy procedure if you are well prepared.
The main point is that both you and your spouse want to get a divorce. You should independently, without the Judge order, create a Settlement Agreement that regulates all the important terms of the divorce. You must negotiate with your spouse in regards to all the issues of child custody, property division, and spousal support.
Minnesota law welcomes uncontested divorces. As a result, it is recommended that spouses attend mediation sessions beforehand in order to resolve all their misunderstandings and avoid a trial if possible.
Grounds for Divorce in Minnesota
Speaking of grounds for dissolution, Minnesota is a pure “no-fault state”. This means that the misconduct of your partner cannot affect the divorce result or give you any benefits.
You must have legal grounds in order to file for divorce. But some grounds are the same for everyone, such as the “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. An evidence of this is when the spouses live separate for at least 180 days and/or there is a serious marital conflict, and the spouses don’t see any possibility of reconciliation.
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Minnesota Residency Requirements to File for Divorce
In order to file dissolution in the Minnesota District Court, the couple must meet one of the following residency requirements:
- At least one of the spouses resides in Minnesota or has a state domicile for 180 days or more at the time of filing the Petition.
- At least one of the spouses is a military member stationed in Minnesota with the armed service for 180 days or more at the time of filing the Petition.
How to File for an Uncontested Divorce in Minnesota
In Minnesota, there are two ways to get an uncontested divorce - solely filing the Petition or filing jointly.
Filing a joint petition is also referred to as “Summary dissolution”. This means that both spouses file the Petition together, so there is no need to wait for a response. This type of uncontested divorce takes even less time, but is only appropriate for couples who have been married for less than 8 years and have no common children (and the wife is not pregnant at the time of filing) nor a lot of assets (less than $25,000)
Those who are not qualified for Summary dissolution should take the following steps:
- File a Petition for dissolution in a proper District Court. Fill out the other forms for your case. Make copies of the Petition and the Summons.
- Serve your spouse with these copies.
- Your partner has 30 days to file an Answer. You can use this time to jointly work on the Settlement Agreement or prepare it in advance before filing.
- Once the response is received, you may submit all the completed paperwork to the court. As there is no waiting period in Minnesota, the proceeding can start immediately and the court begins to consider your case. The divorce can be granted within a couple of months.
Do-It-Yourself Divorce in Minnesota
Do-it-Yourself divorce refers to a process where all the steps of the divorce procedures are arranged by the spouses independently. This involves preparing all the documents and representing yourself in court without the help of an attorney. The step of preparing the documents correctly can be quite tricky, so you can request the help of online services. If you are fully prepared and are fully aware of the process, a DIY divorce can help save you a lot of time and money.
How Much Does an Uncontested Divorce Cost?
The average cost of an uncontested divorce starts at $400, which is equal to the filing fee in Minnesota. Additional expenses may include mediator fees, which can be approximately $2,000 per case, and lawyer fees, which can cost another $1,500. You can reduce the overall cost if you use online document preparation services of just $139. The final cost of your dissolution may vary depending on your individual case and service you require.
How Long Does It Take to Get Divorced in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, an uncontested divorce can be quite quick, especially if the spouses file for Dissolution as co-petitioners. The Summary dissolution typically takes between 30 and 60 days.
On average, an uncontested divorce can take up to a couple months.
How to Serve Your Spouse in Minnesota
As the sole petitioner, it is your duty to properly serve your spouse with all the necessary divorce paperwork. You are not allowed to deliver them personally. There are two methods to serve your spouse in Minnesota:
- You can ask any person over the age of 18 that you trust to deliver the paperwork directly to your spouse.
- You can request the personal service of the Sheriff.
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Documents You Need to Get a Divorce in Minnesota
Below is a list of the basic forms you need to file for an uncontested divorce in Minnesota. Note that not all the forms need to be filled out as it depends on your individual case.
For a divorce case without children:
- DIV402 Petition for Dissolution without Children
- DIV403 Summons
- DIV406 Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment, Judgment and Decree
- DIV407 Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree
- DIV409 Affidavit of Service
- DIV812 Notice of Intent to Proceed to Judgment
For a divorce case where children are involved:
- DIV802 Petition for Divorce with Children
- DIV803 Combined Summons
- DIV806 Stipulated Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment, Judgment and Decree
- DIV807 Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law, Order for Judgment and Judgment and Decree
- DIV812 Notice of Intent to Proceed to Judgment
- DIV813 Notice to Public Authority
- DIV814 Affidavit of Service
Online Divorce in Minnesota
Online divorce refers to the process of completing all the steps of the divorce procedure by yourself without the help of an attorney. This includes preparing all the necessary documents and representing yourself in court.
Services like ours can help prepare your documents accurately and on time. For just $139, we provide you a packet of customized paperwork that fit the needs of your individual case. All you need to do is print them out and file them with the court. You can rest assured that they are approved by the court.
Rules for Child Support and Visitation in Minnesota
In Minnesota, it is assumed that both parents try to contribute to the well-being of their children regardless of who the custodial parent is. In order to calculate the amount of child support precisely, the court uses an “income shares formula” that takes into account the income and earning capacity of both spouses.
Custody can be physical and legal. Physical custody determines whom the child spends most of their time with and who makes the everyday decisions of the child’s life. Legal custody refers to the decision-making power regarding important issues that affect the child’s conditions and upbringing process. Both physical and legal custody may be shared between parents (joint custody) or be granted to one parent (sole custody). In the case of sole custody, the other parent has visitation rights.
There are no gender preferences, and the law assumes that the constant presence of both parents in the child’s life is in the child’s best interest. The custody issue is considered by the court individually depending on the case and takes into account many different factors. Furthermore, if the child spends more than 10% of their time with the non-custodial parent, the child support obligation of this parent may be lowered.
Rules for Spousal Support in Minnesota
In Minnesota, either spouse doesn’t need to be unemployed to try to receive spousal support (alimony). For each case, the court takes into consideration different factors such as: earning ability of both spouses, contribution of each spouse to family welfare, length of the marriage, and health and financial conditions of each spouse.
Generally, there are three types of spousal support that may be awarded in Minnesota:
- Temporary support. This maintenance is typically granted for a fixed period of time while the divorce is in process.
- Short-term support. This support is also paid for a limited time in order to provide the dependent spouse an opportunity to achieve self-sufficiency.
- Long-term maintenance (sometimes, even permanent). This alimony may be ordered in the case of a long marriage (10 years or more), or when there are convincing reasons as to why the requesting spouse cannot support themselves.
Division of Property in Minnesota
Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, so all marital property must be divided by the court in an “equitable” and just way. This does not mean “equal” (as in community property states), and the ratio may vary greatly depending on the circumstances of the case. The court also carefully considers all the important issues that can affect the results of the decision. The spouses may resolve the issue of property division independently by creating a Settlement Agreement.
Marital property refers to property earned and acquired during the marriage, even if a property is solely under the name of one spouse.
Separate property include those that the spouses acquired individually prior to the marriage and is not subject to division.
Division of Debt in Minnesota
Debt is also part of property according to Minnesota law, so it is also divided equitably between the spouses. The main task is to determine which debts are separate and which are marital, but the principal is the same as with property.
However, Minnesota judges have more power when making a decision regarding debt division. As a result, they can claim that only one party must pay for the debt collected during the marriage if they are truly responsible for it.
Divorce Mediation in Minnesota
Divorce mediation is an alternative to dispute resolution that helps the divorcing spouses to create a successful Settlement Agreement that works for both parties. In Minnesota, mediation is ordered to all couples unless there is a presence of abuse or cruel behavior within the family history.
During the session, a qualified mediator helps the spouses to negotiate and come to terms regarding all the issues of the divorce. The mediator is not allowed to order something or take sides. It happens that even spouses who initially want to contest their case can do without a trial after several mediation sessions. Furthermore, divorce mediation can help save a lot of money and is definitely better if there are any children involved.
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How to Divorce a Missing Spouse in Minnesota
You may still get a divorce if you are unaware of your spouse’s location. There are several steps that must be taken in order to divorce a missing spouse in Minnesota:
- You must first try your best to locate your spouse. If you are unsuccessful, you must provide evidence to the court of your efforts in the Affidavit of Diligent Search form.
- The court may send the Summons and Petition by first class mail to any address at which the respondent may receive notice of the proceeding, including their relatives’ of their last known address. If there is no data regarding any suitable address, you may be ordered to publish a notice of your divorce case in the local newspaper (this is referred to as “Service by Publication”.
- After 21 days, the missing spouse is considered to be properly “served by publication”.
- The missing spouse has 30 days to respond to the Petition. If they fail to respond, a divorce can be granted by default, without the participation of the missing spouse.
Default Divorce in Minnesota
In Minnesota, there are few circumstances under which it is possible to finalize a divorce without the participation of one of the spouses. Mentioned above regarding the situation of a missing spouse, is one of them.
Such a divorce is referred to as a default divorce. This means that nothing needs to be discussed between the spouses, and only the divorce initiator (the Petitioner) represents their interests before the court.
A default divorce can be granted if the Defendant is properly served but they fail to respond back to the Petition within 30 days.
Another circumstance in which a Default Divorce may be granted is when the Defendant’s answer is unacceptable and inappropriate to the initial issues included in the Petition.
Annulment of the Marriage in Minnesota
Annulment is a process that recognizes a marriage as void, or as it never existed in the eyes of the law.
As opposed to divorce, you can not file for an annulment just because you want it.
There are several reasons to request the court to declare your marriage as invalid:
- Incest (related by blood or adoption).
- Mental incapacity or alcohol/drug influence at the time of marriage registration.
- Consent to marriage was obtained by fraud or duress.
- A hidden fact of impotence.
- Underage marriage without parents’ consent.
Legal Separation in Minnesota
Legal separation is a procedure that is very similar to divorce. It takes as much time, effort, and money as a divorce proceeding. All the same issues such as property and debt division, child custody and support, and alimony are all regulated similarly as in a divorce case.
The main difference is that legal separation does not officially terminate a marriage. The spouses live separately but are still considered to be legally married. They are not allowed to remarry or cohabitate until they officially file for divorce.
If after some time of being separated the spouses want to get a divorce, they must go through all the court process, but the main work is complete.
People may choose legal separation over divorce for certain reasons, such as religious or financial issues, but it is not very common.
Same-Sex Divorce in Minnesota
Same-sex marriage and divorce were recognized in the State of Minnesota since 2013, two years before the landmark decision of the Supreme Court.
Nowadays, all spouses are equal in the eyes of the law regardless of gender, so anyone can file for divorce provided by the judicial branch of a certain state.
The difficulty arises when deciding how to divide property. Since many same-sex couples have been together since becoming officially married, there is a lot of “marital” property that cannot be properly defined due to the later date of their official marriage. In such a case, mediation may be the best option.
Military Divorce in Minnesota
In Minnesota, as elsewhere in the United States, all military members are protected from a default divorce judgement by the federal law. Though they must still be personally served with all the divorce paperwork, under the Soldiers and Sailors Civil Relief Act, 50 UCS section 521, they are given more time to respond. The divorce proceeding may be postponed for the entire period of active military service and for an additional 60 days after that.
As for property division, the military retirement payments are also protected. They can only be distributed if the marriage lasted for 10 years or more while the military spouse was on active duty.
How to Divorce a Spouse in Jail in Minnesota
In order to divorce a spouse currently in jail, you must properly serve them with all the divorce paperwork. If you create a well-drafted Petition, the divorce can even be granted by default if your spouse fails to respond at all. If your inmate spouse wishes to contest the case, there are many qualified attorneys to represent prisoners. As a result, you will also need to hire a lawyer.
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Minnesota Divorce Filing Fee
Court filing fees are in addition to the cost of using DivorceFiller.com. This cost may vary by county. Please check with your local courthouse to determine the exact amount.
Can a Filing Fee Be Waived?
In order to get the filing fee waived in for a dissolution case in Minnesota, you must meet some of the requirements below:
- Your income is at or below 125% of the Federal poverty level;
- You receive public assistance;
- OR you can convince the court of your insolvency in some other way.
In order to waive the fee, you must file an Affidavit for In Forma Pauperis form, also known as IFP in Minnesota, and provide the court with all the details of your financial circumstances.
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