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Minnesota Family Law: An Overview

Minnesota's family laws provide guidelines for issues arising from divorce or marital property rights. It also protects individual family members' rights where consent to marry and child custody or visitation is concerned. Regardless of your family issue or need, you'll need to abide by and learn about the associated family laws.

If you have a family law case in Minneapolis, Duluth, Saint Paul or elsewhere in Minnesota, LawInfo is your source for information and legal help. LawInfo's Minnesota Family Law section includes legal overviews, summaries of state laws and other resources to help you make the right decisions for you and your family.

If you need help navigating the complex laws governing your case, a Minnesota family law attorney can help and treat your case with the sensitivity it deserves.

Minnesota Marriage Licenses

A marriage must meet specific requirements outlined in Minnesota's family laws to be legal in the state. To verify that a marriage meets these requirements, both parties to the marriage must apply for a marriage license in person before a county registrar prior to their marriage ceremony. A marriage license is a required part in legalizing your marriage in the state.

Both Minnesota residents and nonresidents may apply for a Minnesota marriage license. A license can be used anywhere within the state, so you don't have to get married in the same county where you received your license. While there's no waiting period after you get your license, you only have six months to perform your marriage ceremony before the license expires.

Minnesota Prenuptial Agreements

Some couples may go into a marriage with ground rules about rights and privileges to each other's personal and shared property, such as finances, debts, insurance benefits and real estate. To ensure that those rules remain into a possible divorce, you can choose to create a prenuptial (or antenuptial) agreement prior to getting married.

Typically when a couple gets divorced, they have to work together and, if relations are strained enough, with the court to determine each party's rights to separate and marital property. If they can't come to an agreement, the court will ultimately make a decision upon an equitable distribution—meaning that the division of marital property (only) is fair to each party, but is not necessarily an even split in quantity or value.

A prenuptial agreement helps to avoid this hassle later on by establishing each party's property rights and determining each party's separate property (i.e. property that isn't owned jointly). The agreement can be modified or terminated during the marriage and is executed once the marriage ends. Both parties must consent to the agreement and any changes with signatures.

Minnesota No-Fault Divorces

Minnesota's family laws don't require a petitioning party to allege the respondent's marital misconduct when filing for divorce. Instead, the petitioner simply needs to allege that the marriage suffered an irretrievable breakdown. This makes Minnesota a "no-fault" divorce state.

In most cases, the court will grant the divorce based on the petitioner's allegation of an irretrievable breakdown. However, if the respondent denies the allegation, the court may order mediation or marital counseling to determine whether the marriage can be salvaged.

Just as marital misconduct isn't considered in divorce decrees, it's also not considered in property distribution or spousal maintenance decisions.

Speak to an Experienced Family Law Attorney Today

Even the most common family law issue can be intensely stressful. A knowledgeable family lawyer can guide you through the process. An attorney will coach you on how to proceed and give expert guidance on hearings, trials and enforcing court orders. Take the first step now and talk to an experienced local family attorney.

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