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Minnesota divorce law basics

Prior to filing for divorce, an individual has likely wrestled with making the difficult decision to end his or her marriage for months or even years. When the decision is finally made and an individual wishes to file a petition for the dissolution of a marriage, it's important to understand how state divorce laws may affect how the divorce progresses and the final outcome.

Under Minnesota divorce laws, an individual must have lived in the state for at least six months prior to filing a divorce petition. While many states allow an individual to file for divorce citing a spouse as being at fault or taking actions that lead to the breakdown of a marriage, Minnesota only recognizes no fault grounds for divorce or the irretrievable breakdown of a marital relationship. This means any faults committed by either spouse will not be taken into account when determining matters related to a divorce settlement.

The official divorce process begins with the filing of a divorce petition. In cases where a couple has no children and are able to agree upon terms related to the division of marital assets and property, a divorce may be finalized in as few as 20 days. However, in cases where minor-aged children are involved or disagreements over the distribution of assets exist, a divorce will take much longer.

Minnesota is an equitable distribution state. This means the court will take numerous factors into consideration when dividing marital property and assets and attempt to ensure the distribution of such is fair. For example, a court is likely to consider how long spouses have been married, each spouse's health and age and also each spouse's current income and future earning potential.

While certain laws related to the divorce process in Minnesota are set and pre-determined, many factors can be influenced. This is particularly true when it comes to the equitable distribution of property and assets. Throughout the divorce process, an attorney will work to negotiate terms of a divorce settlement that help an individual achieve his or her divorce goals.

Source: LawHelpMN.org, "Getting a Divorce," 2014

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