Minnesota Divorce

Residency Requirements

In order to file for divorce in Minnesota, either the petitioner or the respondent or both:

a) has resided in this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding, or
b) has been a member of the armed services and has been stationed in this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding, or
c) has been a domiciliary of this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding.


Grounds for Divorce

You can get a divorce in Minnesota under a finding of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. If one of the parties does not believe that the marriage is irretrievably broken, the court shall consider all relevant factors, including the circumstances that gave rise to the filing for divorce and the prospect of reconciliation, and shall make a finding whether the marriage is irretrievably broken.

A finding of irretrievable breakdown is a determination that there is no reasonable prospect of reconciliation. The finding must be supported by evidence that the parties have lived separate and apart for a period of not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding, or there is serious marital discord adversely affecting the attitude of one or both of the parties toward the marriage.


Division of Property

The court shall make an equitable division of the marital property of the parties without regard to marital misconduct, after making findings regarding the division of the property.

The court shall base its findings on all relevant factors including the length of the marriage, any prior marriage of a party, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, needs, opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets, and income of each party.

The court shall also consider the contribution of each in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.

It shall be conclusively presumed that each spouse made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while they were living together as husband and wife. The court may also award to either spouse the household goods and furniture of the parties, whether or not acquired during the marriage.

The court shall value marital assets for purposes of division between the parties as of the day of the initially scheduled prehearing settlement conference, unless a different date is agreed upon by the parties, or unless the court makes specific findings that another date of valuation is fair and equitable. If there is a substantial change in value of an asset between the date of valuation and the final distribution, the court may adjust the valuation of that asset as necessary to effect an equitable distribution.


Spousal Support

The Minnesota alimony statute lists factors for the family court to consider in deciding a case of spousal maintenance, without regard to marital misconduct, such as adultery and domestic abuse. The factors listed in the statutes are:

a) the financial resources of the party seeking maintenance, including marital property apportioned to the party, and the party’s ability to meet needs independently, including the extent to which a provision for support of a child living with the party includes a sum for that party as custodian;
b) the time necessary to acquire sufficient education or training to enable the party seeking maintenance to find appropriate employment, and the probability, given the party’s age and skills, of completing education or training and becoming fully or partially self-supporting;
c) the standard of living established during the marriage;
d) the duration of the marriage and, in the case of a homemaker, the length of absence from employment and the extent to which any education, skills, or experience have become outmoded and earning capacity has become permanently diminished;
e) the loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities forgone by the spouse seeking spousal maintenance;
f) the age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance;
g) the ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
h) the contribution of each party in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation, or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker or in furtherance of the other party’s employment or business.


Child Custody

Minnesota decides child custody using the “best interests of the child” standard, using all relevant factors to be considered and evaluated by the court including:

a) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody;
b) the reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference;
c) the child’s primary caretaker;
d) the intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child;
e) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with a parent or parents, siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
f) the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community;
g) the length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity;
h) the permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home;
i) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; except that a disability, of a proposed custodian or the child shall not be determinative of the custody of the child, unless the proposed custodial arrangement is not in the best interest of the child;
j) the capacity and disposition of the parties to give the child love, affection, and guidance, and to continue educating and raising the child in the child’s culture and religion or creed, if any;
k) the child’s cultural background;
l) the effect on the child of the actions of an abuser, if related to domestic abuse, that has occurred between the parents or between a parent and another individual, whether or not the individual alleged to have committed domestic abuse is or ever was a family or household member of the parent; and
m) except in cases in which a finding of domestic abuse has been made, the disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child. The court may not use one factor to the exclusion of all others.

The primary caretaker factor may not be used as a presumption in determining the best interests of the child. The court must make detailed findings on each of the factors and explain how the factors led to its conclusions and to the determination of the best interests of the child.


Child Support

To determine a parent’s basic child support obligation, the court shall:

a) determine the gross income of each parent;
b) calculate the parental income for determining child support (PICS) of each parent, by subtracting from the gross income the credit, if any, for each parent’s nonjoint children;
c) determine the percentage contribution of each parent to the combined PICS by dividing the combined PICS into each parent’s PICS;
d) determine the combined basic support obligation;
e) determine the obligor’s share of the basic support obligation by multiplying the percentage figure from clause 3 by the combined basic support obligation in clause 4; and
f) determine the parenting expense adjustment, and adjust the obligor’s basic support obligation accordingly.

The court shall also determine the medical support obligation for each parent. Unreimbursed and uninsured medical expenses are not included in the presumptive amount of support owed by a parent.

The age of emancipation in Minnesota occurs when the child turns 18, or when the child turns 20 if still attending high school.



https://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/ (Minnesota state statutes)


Minnesota Resources


Laws & Courts:

Minnesota Law – state statutes, Chapters 517 through 519
State Court System – supreme and Appellate opinions, links to trial court districts, court news and more are available.

Additional Resources:

Minnesota State Bar Association – legal form downloads, court opinions, public information pamphlets and more from the MSBA.
Resource Center for Fathers & Families
1201 89th Ave NE Suite 305
Blaine MN 55434
Children’s Rights Council – national nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC that works to assure children meaningful and continuing contact with both their parents and extended family regardless of the parents’ marital status. For Minnesota chapters, contact Bruce Kaskubar at bk@mncrc.org
Twin Cities Men’s Center – the mission of the Twin Cities Men’s Center is to provide resources for men seeking to grow in body, mind, and spirit and from that foundation to advocate for healthier family and community relationships. E-mail: tcmc@freenet.msp.mn.us.

Public Access to Court Records –

The Minnesota Judicial Branch offers access to public records. (Source: National Center for State Courts)

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Additional Links

The State Resource pages are provided for informational purposes only. Do not take any actions based upon the information contained within the State Resource pages without first consulting an attorney licensed in your state. We at DadsDivorce.com strive to keep our information up-to-date; however state laws are not static and subject to change without notice.