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Minnesota Divorce Self-Help Center

Many customer Minnesota divorce questions are answered here.  Browse from the topics below or use the search box to narrow your search.
 
Search Categories (check the categories to include in your search)
General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
GENERAL INFORMATION
How does DivorceWriter work? 375
First, complete the basic pre-purchase portion of the online interview. Then, set up your... more
What happens after I receive my DivorceWriter documents? 1917
Just follow the step-by-step instructions included with your DivorceWriter package, which ... more
What are the grounds for filing for divorce in Minnesota? 2267
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. For a Minnesota no-fault divorce, the spouse must allege that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship.
How do I make changes to my documents after I receive them? 1449
If you want to make changes to any of your documents after receiving them in the mail, you... more
Will DivorceWriter documents work in my state and/or in my situation? 1969
DivorceWriter's goal is to provide self-help divorce documents. However, DivorceWriter is ... more
I finished the online interview. How long will it take to receive my documents? 1981
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may al... more
I want to use DivorceWriter to prepare my own divorce documents. What do I do next? 1864
To get started, click on "Start the Process" above. You will be taken to our online inter... more
Can I use DivorceWriter in my state? 1979
DivorceWriter offers divorce documents for nearly every U.S. state and the District of Col... more
What if I need additional documents that were not included in my DivorceWriter package? 2000
Contact customer service at info@divorcewriter.com with the name or form number of the the... more
What is the online interview? 1863
In as little as 10-15 minutes, the online interview allows you to enter the information ne... more
Can you overnight my documents to me so that I can have them right away? 2586
Get your DivorceWriter documents immediately using the instant download option. You may a... more
How do I change my password? 1972
To change your password you must first log back into your account using the login section ... more
How do I make changes to my existing DivorceWriter account? 1973
If you already have a DivorceWriter account and need to make changes to your online interv... more
Does DivorceWriter provide documents for annulments? 2165
No. DivorceWriter does not currently provide documents for annulments.
What is included? 3784
The DivorceWriter package includes all forms needed to complete your divorce. These state... more
Will my documents be completed or will I have to fill them out myself when I receive them? 3121
For the most part, your DivorceWriter documents arrive completed with the information that... more
How do I serve a spouse that lives in a different state or country? 3810
The process for serving a spouse that lives in another state or country depends on the sta... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide property and debts? 3360
Asking the Court for to divide property and debts fairly is standard language in the Divor... more
Do we need to notify the court of any address changes during the divorce? 3405
Any questions concerning the requirements for notifying the court about changes of address... more
Does it matter which spouse files for divorce? 3502
Generally speaking, both spouses should have the same rights in a divorce proceeding regar... more
What is DivorceWriter's fax number? 3419
DivorceWriter's fax number is (800) 344 9889.
I need a form that is not available online or in the DivorceWriter's supplemental forms database. How can I find a sample form elsewhere? 3352
Divorce documents are public record, so it is usually possible to obtain a copy of one or ... more
Can I create another divorce in my account?  2712
Yes, you can purchase additional divorces from your Account Summary page. Login to your a... more
What's the difference between an Acknowledgement and a Jurat? 3634
With an Acknowledgement, the notary is certifying that the signer appeared before the nota... more
We were married in a foreign country. Can we divorce in the U.S.?  2635
As long as you meet the residency requirements for filing for divorce in the state where y... more
I didn't list any property or debts in the online interview. Why do some of my documents ask the court to divide our property and/or debts? 3361
The Divorce Petitions/Divorce Complaints in most states contain language asking the Court ... more
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STATE PROCEDURES
Do any documents require notarization? 1982
The filing instructions included with your DivorceWriter package will provide additional i... more
How long does it usually take to finalize a divorce in Minnesota? 2273
Your Court Administrator’s Office will be able to provide the most accurate information for your particular county, as the time it takes to finalize a divorce in Minnesota varies between counties.
How much is the filing fee in Minnesota? 2271
The DivorceWriter price does NOT include the filing fee charged by the Court Administrator when you file for divorce. The fee for filing for divorce in Minnesota varies from county to county, but is typically approximately $390.00-$420.00.
What are the signature requirements for the documents I will receive? 899
The state-specific filing procedures included in the DivorceWriter package indicate which ... more
What are the basic steps to getting a divorce in Minnesota? 2270
1) Both spouses review and then sign the dissolution documents in front of a Notary.
2) The Petitioner files the Joint Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and related documents with the Court Administrator and pays the filing fee.
3) Both spouses will receive Notice of Case Assignment in the mail and a Notice of Hearing if the Judge determines a hearing is necessary.
4) Attend the hearing if the Judge has determined one is necessary. (Note: A hearing is usually only required when the parties have minor children together.)
5) The Judge signs the Decree of Dissolution following the final hearing and/or mails a finalized Decree to you and your spouse.
Will either of us be required to attend a court hearing? 2262
If you file for a simplified Summary Dissolution in Minnesota, a court hearing will not take place.

If you file a Joint Dissolution and have no minor children, the court administrator will place the matter on the default calendar for approval without hearing. A hearing will only take place if the Judge determines one is necessary.

However, if you file a Joint Dissolution and have minor children, both spouses will be required to attend a hearing.
How do I serve my spouse with the divorce papers in Minnesota? 2274
Formal service is not required in a divorce in Minnesota when both parties agree to all terms of the divorce. Each spouse signs the Joint Petition in front of a Notary Public, which is then filed with the Court as proof of service.
What if my spouse and I don't live in the same state? 1856
As long as one spouse meets the residency requirements for the state where the divorce wil... more
Where do I file my divorce papers in Minnesota? 2260
Minnesota divorces are filed at the Court Administrator's Office of the District Court in the county where either spouse lives. In Ramsey County and Hennepin County, divorces are filed in the Office of the Clerk of the Family District Court for each County. Your self-prepared DivorceWriter package includes detailed procedures on filing for divorce in the county you selected, including the address and telephone number of the Clerk of Court.
What is considered to be the date of separation in Minnesota? 2264
The term "separation date" refers to the date when the spouses stopped living at the same residence. However, there is no requirement that a couple be separated for any period of time in order to file for divorce in Minnesota.

If spouses are still living at the same residence, be prepared to explain in your documents why this is so.
Do I qualify for filing for a simplified divorce using Summary Dissolution? 2285
A couple may use the streamlined procedure of filing a Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution of a Marriage if:
(1) no living minor children have been born to or adopted by the parties before or during the marriage, unless someone other than the husband has been declared the father by court order;
(2) the wife is not pregnant;
(3) they have been married fewer than eight years as of the date they file their joint declaration;
(4) neither party owns any real estate;
(5) there are no unpaid debts in excess of $8,000 incurred by either or both of the parties during the marriage, excluding loans/leases on automobiles;
(6) the total fair market value of the marital assets does not exceed $25,000, including net equity on automobiles;
(7) neither party has nonmarital assets in excess of $25,000; AND
(8) neither party has been a victim of domestic abuse by the other.
See Minn. Stat. 518.195
Do we have to be separated to get a divorce in Minnesota? 2275
There is no requirement that a couple be separated for any period of time in order to file for divorce in Minnesota.
Can I change my name in Minnesota divorce proceedings? 2276
If you select the name change option in the Online Interview, the request will be automatically added to your documents at no additional cost to you.
What documents are included in the self-prepared Minnesota DivorceWriter package? 2272
Your self-prepared Minnesota DivorceWriter package will include:

For Summary Dissolution of Marriage:
Minnesota Divorce Filing Procedures
Minnesota Summary Dissolution Information Booklet
Joint Petition for Summary Dissolution
Confidential Information Form

For Uncontested Dissolution Without Children:
Minnesota Divorce Filing Procedures
Joint Petition, Agreement, and Judgment and Decree for Marriage Dissolution Without Children
Confidential Information Form
Appendix A if Spousal Maintenance is needed

For Uncontested Dissolution With Children:
Minnesota Divorce Filing Procedures
Joint Petition, Agreement, and Judgment and Decree for Marriage Dissolution With Children
Confidential Information Form
Appendix A if Spousal Maintenance is needed
Child Support Worksheets
What are the Minnesota residency requirements for filing for divorce? 2266
One of the parties to the dissolution of marriage must have been a resident of Minnesota for 180 days immediately prior to filing for dissolution of marriage. The dissolution of marriage may be filed in a county where either spouse resides.
Do I have to divorce in the state where I was married? 1801
No. You can divorce in any state where you or your spouse meet the divorce residency requi... more
How do I get certified copies of the Minnesota Recognition of Parentage and the Non-Paternity Statement? 2286
Certified copies of the Minnesota Recognition of Parentage and the Non-Paternity Statement can be obtained by completing and notarizing the required form provided by the Minnesota Department of Health website at: http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/chs/osr/ropform.pdf
Contact the Minnesota Department of Health Recognition of Parentage Program at (651) 201-5970 for the certified copy fee and mailing address.
Can the wife change her name back during the divorce? 1807
Yes, the wife may restore her name to the name she had before the marriage took place. If ... more
Can my spouse have documents notarized in a different state? 2981
Yes. If your spouse is unable to have documents notarized by a Notary Public in the state... more
How do I determine if my income falls below the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines? 3528
Some states require a person who is applying for a filing fee waiver to have an annual inc... more
There was an error on one or more of the documents that I filed with the Clerk. Now that I have fixed the error(s) on the document(s), is there anything else I have to do to it before I file an amended version of the document with the Clerk? 2934
Generally, if an error has been made in a document that was filed with the Clerk, the corr... more
My documents ask for the "Cause Number" instead of a "Case Number." Is this correct? 3231
Yes. In a number of U.S. states, the Courts use the term "Cause Number" instead of "Case ... more
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CUSTODY, VISITATION, SUPPORT
What is the difference between child support and spousal support? 338
Spousal support is paid to one spouse by the other for the support and care of the receivi... more
We have agreed that one spouse will pay spousal support to the other. What are some options? 1585
Two common ways for one spouse to receive spousal support payments from the other are (1) ... more
Can we specify how we will claim our child(ren) for income tax purposes? 2086
The DivorceWriter online interview allows you to designate which spouse will claim your mi... more
We have received our documents, but have decided that we do not want any parenting time schedule. Is this possible? 2239
The DivorceWriter online interview, which you completed previously, was designed to accomm... more
We have children. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 1802
Yes, you can use DivorceWriter to create your divorce forms even if you have children. Th... more
Do I have to pay income tax on spousal support payments that I receive? 1984
For federal income tax purposes, spousal support is commonly considered taxable income for... more
When can a child support order be modified in Minnesota? 2269
A child support order may be modified in Minnesota if one or more of the following makes the terms of the order unfair:
(1) substantially increased or decreased gross income of an obligor or obligee;,
(2) substantially increased or decreased need of an obligor or obligee or the child or children that are the subject of these proceedings;
(3) receipt of assistance under the AFDC program;
(4) a change in the cost of living for either party as measured by the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics;,br> (5) extarordinary medical expenses of the child not already considered;
(6) a change in the availability of appropriate health care coverage or a substantial increase or decrease in health care coverage costs;
(7) the addition of work-related or education-related child care expenses of the obligee or a substantial increase or decrease in existing work-related or education-related child care expense; or
(8) upon the emancipation of the child.

See Minn. Stat. 518A.39 Modification of Orders or Decrees
What if my spouse and I have agreed to use a child support amount that is different from the standard amount set by the Child Support Guidelines? 2263
DivorceWriter shows the child support calculation under the guidelines using the "income shares" model.
The customer chooses whether to use the guideline calculation or to deviate from that calculation by entering a different child support amount. If the amount is a deviation from the basic support obligation, the customer will explain the reasons for the deviation in the Joint Petition. The court will decide whether or not to approve the deviation.
We already have a child support order issued by a judge. Will we be able to keep the same amount? 2277
DivorceWriter provides the option to enter information regarding an existing child support order including the amount of support ordered and other identifying case information. Generally, you will also be expected to staple one copy of the prior child support order to each copy of the Joint Petition you will file with the Court later in the divorce process.
What are the different types of custody in Minnesota? 2268
"Legal custody" means the right to determine the child's upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training.

"Joint legal custody" means that both parents have equal rights and responsibilities, including the right to participate in major decisions determining the child's upbringing, including education, health care, and religious training.

"Physical custody and residence" means the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child.

"Joint physical custody" means that the routine daily care and control and the residence of the child is structured between the parties.
How do I start income withholding from my income by my employer for spousal maintenance and/or child support? 2287
To start income withholding, Husband or Wife must apply for income withholding services at the Child Support office in your county and must send a copy of the Court Order (last section of the Joint Petion) to the Child Support Office.
How is child support calculated in Minnesota? 2261
Based on the information provided by the customer when completing this online interview, a computer generated Child Support Worksheet is created and sent to the customer as part of the DivorceWriter package.

The Minnesota Child Support Guidelines are available at: MN DHS Child Support Guidelines
What if my children live in another state and we already have a court order or informal arrangement concerning child support and child custody? 3651
If you want to have the court issue an order as part of the divorce concerning child suppo... more
What is the home state of the children under UCCJEA? 3543
While you are entitled to file for divorce in any state where the residency requirements a... more
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PROPERTY AND DEBTS
Can I receive a portion of my spouse's retirement plan even though his/her retirement is several years away? 46
The most common way for one spouse to secure the right to a portion of the other spouse's ... more
Do we have to list the debts we have agreed to divide? 1989
About 30% of DivorceWriter customers list debts. The debts listed will appear on the sett... more
We want to transfer real estate into only one spouse's name. Do we need a Quit Claim Deed? 311
Generally, if you want to transfer jointly held real estate into the name of only one spou... more
Can we divide/list as many items of personal property as we want? 1764
Choose to list all, some, or no property. The customer decides which property, if any, to ... more
Do I need to list the legal description of my real estate? 757
It is generally sufficient to just list the physical address of the property (street, city... more
What is the "legal description" of a piece of real estate? 2780
The legal description is usually a one to two paragraph description of land that includes ... more
When can I record the quit claim deed my spouse signed? 3811
One spouse may choose to sign a quit claim deed transferring his or her interest in the ma... more
Why do my DivorceWriter documents say that we do not have life insurance or other property that we actually do have? 2726
Some states require divorcing spouses to provide information on several different types of... more
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SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES
I received my DivorceWriter package today, but I'm not sure I want to file for divorce right away. How how long are these papers good for? 2229
Unsigned divorce documents do not have an expiration date per se. Applicable time periods... more
I can't find my spouse. Can I still use DivorceWriter? 2452
DivorceWriter is designed for couples who have reached an agreement on all issues and who ... more
I am not sure my marriage was legal. Do I even need a divorce? 1970
DivorceWriter is for people who want to end their marriages. If you have any questions reg... more
What if I have an out of state driver's license or no license at all? 995
If the spouse who files for divorce does not have a valid in-state driver's license, it ma... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. Can we still use DivorceWriter? 2234
DivorceWriter documents must be signed by both husband and wife. As long as your spouse is... more
How do we get documents notarized in a foreign country? 2449
The meaning of the term "notary" varies widely from country to country. To find a Notary ... more
What if one spouse is in the military? 2327
If both parties are willing to sign the papers, ending your marriage when a spouse is in the military is generally much like a regular divorce.

When a Minnesota resident spends time outside of the state while in the armed forces, he or she remains a resident of Minnesota. Additionally, if one of the spouses is a resident of a different state, but has been a member of the armed services stationed in Minnesota for at least 180 days prior to the filing of the divorce, he/she is considered a resident of Minnesota for the purpose of filing the divorce.

See Minn. Stat. 518.07

For additional information on residency requirements, the servicemember may wish to contact his or her local JAG office.
Which states allow same-sex divorce? 3530
Same-sex couples who live in the following states may seek a divorce there regardless of w... more
How do I end a civil union or domestic partnership? 3446
When recognized in the state, civil unions and/or domestic partnerships can be entered int... more
Does DivorceWriter provide gender-neutral documents for divorce in states where same-sex marriage is not specifically legalized, but is recognized when performed in another state? 3230
DivorceWriter's current policy is to gender-neutralize our online interview and documents ... more
My spouse is currently incarcerated. What address do I use? 2745
You may use the address at the facility where your spouse is currently incarcerated. Divo... more
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ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Where can I find additional help? 2410
Additional help is available. Click here to find legal help from the American Bar Associat... more
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CUSTOMER SERVICE
If unable to find help on this page, issues of a non-legal nature may be directed to customer service.
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