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When you are divorcing, there are certain laws that are applied to each person involved that you need to be aware of. These are outlined by the state legislature in Minnesota. Being aware of the entire law would be difficult, however if you keep in mind a few of the overriding rules and laws, you will be forearmed with knowledge that may well help you have a smoother divorce process.
Minnesota doesn't have an at-fault divorce available so the only means of getting a divorce is to file a petition with the court of the county in which you or your spouse have been living for at least six months or 180 days before filing. Irretrievable differences is the actual term used to define what has occurred in the marriage. Both of you have to make an affirmation that the there is no hope of saving the marriage in any way.
Another word for this is a "no-fault" divorce. There cannot be any wrongdoing named in the petition for divorce, only irreconcilable differences. The only time that fault can be named as grounds for divorce is to determine alimony or property division, not for the divorce itself.
Minnesota is an "equitable property division" state. This means that anything you earn during the marriage is yours to keep, and your spouse can keep his or hers as well. This must be provable. The court may require you to submit pay stubs, income tax forms and possibly W-9s. In any case, the more documentation you have the better you will be able to plead your case. If there is any property in your name alone or your spouse's name only, the property is yours. In a divorce, however, just because you own it doesn't mean that it won't be divided by the judge, allowing your spouse to manage part of it or even sell some property. Sometimes this will seem not equitable or a fair division of the property.
The state of Minnesota does its best to put the best interests of the child before the wants and desires of the parents. The court wants the child to have contact with both parents after the divorce, and the judge, most of the time, will rule that joint custody is the answer to the child custody issues that arise. The court will read the documentation you present and may even call you in for questioning. He or she may also ask the child to answer questions and be interviewed as to what he or she wants to do.
Child support is often viewed as an extension of child custody, because the parent who has custody often receives child support. The standard of living that the child is used to having is taken into consideration as well as the income generated by both parents. Both parents must support the child monetarily and the child should not be made to suffer because of the dissolution of the marriage. The court will take into consideration how much time each parent spends with the child. If one of the parents is able to make more income but is not rising to the occasion to do so, the court may demand that this be done.
Having a good general knowledge of the laws that govern divorce in Minnesota can be a powerful tool. You may want to contact an attorney who has in-depth knowledge of the laws that govern divorce in Minnesota.
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified divorce lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local divorce attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.