What are the grounds for divorce in Minnesota?

Minnesota is a no fault divorce state, which means that you do not have to prove that one spouse is at fault in order to end the marriage. This also means that things one spouse has done that seem unfair to the other spouse such as having an affair or causing the breakdown of the relationship are no concern to the courts. Even when one spouse seems to be at fault, generally assets and debts are still divided fairly equally and custody and parenting time decisions are still decided based on the best interests of the children.

How much will it cost me to get divorced?

The cost of hiring an attorney to assist you to get divorced varies significantly depending on your situation. If you and your spouse are able to rationally discuss the details of your finances and the best interest of your children, then the cost of having an attorney draft a final agreement for you may be minimal. If you are disagreeing on every issue such as who keeps the house and whether one spouse is entitled to spousal maintenance, it will cost significantly more to work out each individual issue with the help of an attorney. Attorneys are paid by the hour, so each hour spent adds to the overall cost. In general, most divorces in Minnesota are eventually settled based on an agreement between the parties as opposed to a trial, but some take longer than others to be finalized.

How long does it take to get divorced?

If you and your spouse have an agreement on all issues and are just asking your attorneys to draft the final agreement, then the time to get divorced can be as little as two months. If it will take some time to work out agreements on certain issues and the parties must participate in mediation or have proceeded to court, the time to get divorced can extend as long as or longer than one year. Generally, the more agreements there are the shorter the time frame for getting divorced.

Will I have to pay child support or will I be awarded child support?

Child support is calculated based on the income of both parties, the costs of medical and dental insurance, and the costs of child care. Child support is made up of basic, medical, and child care support so who pays support also depends on who is paying for child care and who carried the medical insurance. If both parties have equal time with the children, generally the spouse with higher income will still pay the spouse with lower income some form of child support. If one spouse has the children most of the time, then the other spouse will generally owe child support. The online child support calculator is a useful tool to estimate child support obligations.

Will I have to pay spousal maintenance (alimony)?

In Minnesota, there is no specific calculation for deciding if someone is entitled to spousal maintenance. Generally, in longer marriages, where one spouse did not work or made significantly less than the other spouse, spousal maintenance is more likely to be an issue. However, even in short term marriage, in certain circumstances, spousal maintenance may be awarded on a short term basis. There are several factors under Minnesota law that the court must consider in awarding spousal maintenance. But generally, the court is considering one spouse’s need in relation to the other spouse’s ability to pay.

How are assets and debts divided in a divorce?

Minnesota law says that assets are divided equitably, which does not necessarily mean equally. Debts are generally divided in the same way. In general, assets and debts are divided by making a list of all assets and debts, assigning certain assets and debts to each spouse, and then deciding if either spouse is entitled to an equalizer payment to correct any imbalance in the overall award of assets and debts.

What are non-marital assets and how are they treated in a divorce?

Generally, non-marital assets are those that were owned prior to marriage or were acquired by gift or inheritance. Usually they are not considered when dividing marital assets and debts in a divorce. However, it is the obligation of the person claiming an asset is their non-marital property to prove where it came from and the fact that it was kept separate from marital assets in order to keep it from being considered a marital asset. These calculations can be complicated and may require the use of an expert such as an accountant.

Do I have to go to court to get divorced?

Appearing in court is generally only required if there is no agreement between spouses and the court will need to make a decision on any particular issue. In addition, even if there is a full agreement on all issues, but there are children involved, and only one spouse has an attorney, then one hearing is required to finalize the divorce process. It is certainly possible to avoid going to court and to resolve all issues in the divorce amicably. Often when both parties have an attorney, the attorneys can help both parties understand all the issues better and can facilitate an agreement.

For More Information

Family Law

Child Support

Parenting Time

Cooperative divorce

Moving a child out of state