Divorce in Minnesota, Part 2
Joint petition for uncontested 'dissolution' is easiest route to legally ending marriage
In Part 1 we discussed the benefits of professional counseling and the need to address domestic violence quickly; we also provided links slanted toward violence against men.
State-level resources for domestic violence
Minnesota has a wealth of resources devoted to preventing and curtailing domestic violence, including the following:
- Domestic Abuse Project;
- A.A.R.D.V.A.R.C.'s page, Minnesota: Domestic Violence Resources;
- Day One crisis line;
- NCADV's facts about Minnesota domestic violence;
- Minnesota Judicial Branch's "Laws, Rules and Resources on Domestic Abuse and Harassment";
- Minnesota statutes re: domestic assault.
The Self-Help site
According to the judicial branch's "Self-Help" site:
In Minnesota law, a divorce is called a "Dissolution of Marriage." To get divorced in Minnesota, one of the spouses must have lived in Minnesota for at least 180 days [including military personnel stationed in Minnesota] before starting the case. Getting divorced is a lot more complicated than getting married, and it can take several months before your divorce is final.
Children, Property & Settlement
Your divorce will be more complicated if you have property (real estate, automobiles, vacation property, pensions, jewelry, etc.) or minor children. Your case could be done faster if you and your spouse agree on how to divide the property and handle custody of the children. Many cases start out with disputes, but then the parties are able to reach an agreement. Sometimes the judge will order the parties to try mediation or alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to reach an agreement.
State publishes statutes
The Minnesota statutes covering dissolution of marriage can be found here.
Fees & venue for filing
The fee for filing for dissolution of marriage--which is in the county where one of the spouses lives--runs about $400 on average; you can look up your particular county here. Also, notice (via statute 518-09) that the court can change the venue for various reasons: "This venue shall be subject to the power of the court to change the place of hearing by consent of the parties, or when it appears to the court that an impartial hearing cannot be had in the county where the proceedings are pending, or when the convenience of the parties or the ends of justice would be promoted by the change."
Summons not necessary with joint petition
By that same statute, no summons is required when the parties file a joint petition; again from the Self-Help Center: "In Minnesota, one spouse must start the divorce by writing a Summons and Petition and "serving" it on the other spouse. There are specific rules for how to serve the documents.
"NOTE: If both spouses agree on how to settle all the issues in their divorce and can sign the same papers, you could do a Joint Petition for divorce."
Obviously, this type of uncontested divorce is the least costly, least complex route to dissolution of marriage.
As mentioned, disputes over children or property--or both--often prevent the parties from being able to arrive at such amicable, uncontested agreements. In those cases, experts recommend that each party should retain legal counsel.
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