The ABCs of Divorce
In Minnesota, a marriage is a civil contract between two persons, which have the capability in law of contracting, and meets the requirements of a valid marriage (examples: marriage license, two witnesses, conducted by someone who is authorized to do so under the law). Minn. Stat. §517.01. This contract or union binds two people together when it comes to taxes, finances, medical decisions, and childrearing. It also provides certain legal protections, such as the option to not testify against one another in a criminal hearing and automatic inheritance of wealth and assets in the event of death if there is no will present. Due to these rights and protections, there is a legal method to revoke these privileges in the event two people part ways: divorce.
In Minnesota, the law states that one of the parties must reside in Minnesota at least 180 days prior to filing for a dissolution of marriage (in other words, filing for a divorce). Unlike some states, a dissolution of marriage in Minnesota does not require a legal trial separation first. Should the parties choose a legal separation first, the court does not dissolve the rights and responsibilities under the marriage. It does, however, recognize and appoint a division of rights and responsibilities between the spouses.
The process includes obtaining an attorney for both parties and filing the proper paperwork with family court. If children are involved, Minnesota law requires a custody and parenting agreement, or the parties must complete a parent education program. In addition, the parties must come to an agreement regarding the division of assets and any other relationship-specific issues. The entire process may take months or even years to finalize in court.
It is wonderful to believe that people get married for the right reasons and make their marriages work because they love one another. The truth is that is not always the case. Even when people marry for love, they sometimes find that the love they once felt has dwindled or changed. Maybe the two simply grew apart as they got older. Divorce is a way to help people get out of a living situation that may no longer be best for them and their family, so they can move forward to a life of happiness. In these types of cases, no one is at fault and nothing specific went wrong. It is just that people change and grow, and sometimes they do not do so together.
However, sometimes there are issues that lead to divorce. For instance, there may be abuse or addiction involved. Perhaps there may be infidelity that led to the divorce. Other issues may include deceit and even fraud. Regardless of the reason, Minnesota is a no fault state when it comes to divorce. No one is considered at fault when a marriage ends and it doesn’t have a negative impact on your case. It only takes one party to want a divorce. You don’t need both spouses to agree to start the divorce process.
As obvious as it may sound, you must be legally married to obtain a divorce. If your marriage was legally fraudulent due to other issues, such as being married to another person, deception, etc., the law may or may not provide options to proceed with a legal divorce. This depends on the circumstances and the applicable laws. If you find yourself in need of a divorce or questioning the legitimacy of your marriage, contact the experienced family law attorneys of Lake Harriet Law Offices at (612) 750-4843.