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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.
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General Information State Procedures   Custody, Visitation, Support
  Property and Debts   Special Circumstances Additional Resources
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.
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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 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.
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.
  8. neither party has been a victim of domestic abuse by the other.
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
Note: You may receive additional documents depending on your answers to our online interview. In the same regard, you may not receive some of the documents in the above list, depending on your answers to our online interview.
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.
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. Contact the Minnesota Department of Health Recognition of Parentage Program at (651) 201-5970 for the certified copy fee and mailing address.
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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
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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.
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