Throughout Minnesota family law, the best interests of the child prevail. Minnesota defines that as it relates to child custody by considering any or all of the factors below:
- The wishes of the child's parent or parents as to custody,
- The reasonable preference of the child, if the court deems the child to be of sufficient age to express preference,
- The child's primary caretaker,
- The intimacy of the relationship between each parent and the child,
- 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,
- The child's adjustment to home, school, and community,
- The length of time the child has lived in a stable, satisfactory environment and the desirability of maintaining continuity,
- The permanence, as a family unit, of the existing or proposed custodial home,
- 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,
- The child's cultural background,
- 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,
- The disposition of each parent to encourage and permit frequent and continuing contact by the other parent with the child.
The court will not consider conduct of a proposed custodian that does not affect the custodian's relationship to the child. It will consider any evidence of false allegations of child abuse in determining the best interests of the child.
The court will presume that joint legal custody is in the best interests of the child. Evidence to the contrary can be presented that contests that presumption, or the court can, in its own discretion, make orders for one parent to be awarded sole custody.
The court will grant the following rights to each of the parties:
- Each party has the right of access to, and to receive copies of, school, medical, dental, religious training, and other important records and information about the minor children,
- Each party has the right of access to information regarding health or dental insurance available to the minor children,
- Each party will keep the other party informed as to the name and address of the school of attendance of the minor children,
- Each party has the right to be informed by school officials about the children's welfare, educational progress and status, and to attend school and parent-teacher conferences. The school is not required to hold a separate conference for each party. In case of an accident or serious illness of a minor child, each party will notify the other party of the accident or illness, and the name of the health care provider and the place of treatment,
- Each party has the right to reasonable access and telephone contact with the minor children. The court may waive any of the rights under this section if it finds it is necessary to protect the welfare of a party or child.
When parenting time is contested, the parents of a minor child will be ordered to attend a minimum of eight hours in an orientation and education program that meets the minimum standards stipulated by the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Are you just starting out with divorce, and need a blueprint, or guidance, without it costing an arm and a leg? You will be well served by developing your own Parenting Plan, Visitation Schedule and Child Custody Schedule.
Download Minnesota Divorce Forms
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.17]
A marital annulment in Minnesota is more difficult to get than most other states. If you want an annulment (sometimes called a marriage annulment which voids the marriage as if it never existed), you must act quickly. There do not appear to be forms available, so you should seek an attorney's help with the process. An annulment will be issued if one proves:
- A party lacked capacity to consent (and the petition is filed no later than 90 days after the petitioner obtained knowledge of the described) or by the under aged party, the party's parent or guardian, before the time the under aged party reaches the age at which the party could have married without satisfying the omitted requirement,
- One party has a mental illness,
- One party was under the influence of alcohol, drugs or other “incapacitating” substance at the time of the marriage ceremony,
- One party is not able to consummate the marriage with sexual intercourse and the other party did not know this at the time of the marriage ceremony.
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 517.01, 517.03, 517.05, 518.01-.02]
In general terms, state divorce laws specify Minnesota child support amounts by multiplying the payer's net income by the percentage indicated in the following table. Number of children appear along the top row (1 through 6). Minnesota child support will be paid based on the following table:
For those parents whose incomes exceed the income limit, they will be ordered to pay MN child support as if their income was equal to that limit. In other words, child support is capped in Minnesota equal to the limit. Minnesota child support is configured using the individuals' monthly income minus any of these:
- Federal Income Tax,
- State Income Tax,
- Social Security Deductions,
- Standard Deductions apply,
- Union Dues use of tax tables,
- Cost of Dependent Health recommended Insurance Coverage,
- Cost of Individual or Group Health/Hospitalization Coverage or an Amount for Actual Medical Expenses and
- A MN Child Support or Maintenance Order or an out of state order that is currently being paid.
Minnesota child support terminates at age 18, or at age 20 if the child is attending a school of secondary education.
Are you just starting out with divorce, and need a blueprint, or guidance, without it costing an arm and a leg? You will be well served by developing your own Parenting Plan, Visitation Schedule and Child Custody Schedule thereby avoiding the court's uncertain parenting time allocation. These plans will be developed in any case, and if you and your divorcing spouse don't make agreements between yourselves, the court will, and the court's plan may not be as "fair" as your agreements might be.
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.551, 518.552]
You do not need to file court papers to separate in Minnesota. "Legal Separation" is a major change in the status of your marriage. To get a legal separation (sometimes referred to a marital separation) you must serve and file a petition in the appropriate Family Court (county where you or your spouse live). A legal separation looks just like a divorce, except that the marital status is still married and one cannot change surnames or remarry. Both include custody, parenting time, child support, and, if appropriate, spousal maintenance (alimony) orders. All the family assets and debts are permanently divided. A legal separation is often sought by one of the parties that wants to terminate the relationship but wishes that the marital status not be interrupted for religious or health care insurance coverage reasons.
|Worried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Reference Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.|
The parties will have an opportunity to reach a divorce settlement of their marital assets and liabilities. Should they be unable to, the court will make the division. Without regard to marital misconduct, the court will make a just and equitable division of marital assets after identifying and assigning pre-marital assets to the parties. The court will place a value on all assets and will base its findings of division on any and all relevant factors including:
- the length of the marriage,
- any prior marriage of a party,
- amount and sources of income; vocational skills,
- opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets,
- income of each party.
If the court finds that either spouse's resources or property, including the spouse's portion of the marital property are so inadequate as to work an unfair hardship, the court may, in addition to the marital property, apportion up to one-half of the property prevent the unfair hardship. Did you come into this marriage owning a house? Are you concerned about the equity in that house that you brought into the marriage? Here's how it works generally. What you brought into the marriage is usually all yours. However, any appreciation of the house or the property value is normally treated as a "marital asset", meaning that you will likely forfeit a third to a half of that appreciation to your spouse in the divorce.
Lock up the assets
If you think your spouse might try to hide assets, or spend them, we suggest you file a petition for a financial temporary restraining order. This order prevents liquidating assets or spending money beyond the basic necessities of daily living. You might first consider allocating enough funds to see yourself through, because the restraining order will apply to you too.
(Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.58)
A court in Minnesota, in a petition for a dissolution of marriage or legal separation, may grant a maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support) order for either spouse if it finds that the spouse seeking alimony or maintenance:
(a) lacks sufficient property, including marital property apportioned to the spouse, to provide for reasonable needs of the spouse considering the standard of living established during the marriage, especially, but not limited to, a period of training or education, or
(b) is unable to provide adequate self-support, after considering the standard of living established during the marriage and all relevant circumstances, through appropriate employment, or is the custodian of a child whose condition or circumstances make it appropriate that the custodian not be required to seek employment outside the home.
|Worried about a custody battle? Don't be blind sided by your ex. Learn the facts by owning a complete Child Custody Library on the best strategies for winning or keeping child custody.|
The alimony or maintenance order can be either temporary or permanent, as the court deems just, without regard to marital misconduct. The court may consider relevant factors including:
- 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,
- 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,
- 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,
- The loss of earnings, seniority, retirement benefits, and other employment opportunities forgone by the spouse seeking spousal maintenance,
- The age, and the physical and emotional condition of the spouse seeking maintenance,
- The ability of the spouse from whom maintenance is sought to meet needs while meeting those of the spouse seeking maintenance; and
- 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.
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.551, 518.552]
Parents together have the option of constructing a co-parenting regimen a.k.a. visitation, using a Parenting Plan and Child Visitation Schedule. However, should communication breaks down, a parenting plan imposed by the court will be made a part of the divorce decree and both parents are required to comply with that parenting plan. Simply put- if you want the most flexibility, and the most agreement, get with your divorcing spouse and get the plans agreed to. If not, you get what you get, and it may not be chocolates.
In the event you are able to agree, consider all issues to be included in your agreement and leave nothing to interpretation. Be as specific as you can including the right language in your agreement. How is the decreed custody defined? What are the rights and responsibilities? Who has legal custody? Which holiday does the child spend with you? What time and where may the other parent pick the child up? What time should the child be returned home? What is the procedure to follow if either of you are running late and won't be there on time?
How much notice should you be given if they are planning a vacation? How far away may the other spouse move? What about future partners? Should those partners stay overnight in front of the children? Or..a simple way to get the job done is to use Parenting Plan software.
If the court decides, it will likely include in the Visitation
Plan: alternate weekend visitation (3-day weekends included), mid-week visitation, sharing of the children during periods
of school recess -winter, spring and summer, New Year's Eve, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, Thanksgiving, and Christmas
with one parent or the other in alternate years, Father's Day with Father, Mother's Day with Mother, alternate years on the
children's birthdays, and open communication by phone and computer.
Be aware that you have to guide your side of the divorce. Don't rely that your attorney will think of everything. You set the course; your lawyer navigates. Know divorce laws in this state. If you anticipate any problems with custody or visitation, we suggest you own Child Custody Strategies.
Minnesota divorce laws define a dissolution of marriage (divorce) as the complete termination of the marital relationship between a husband and wife. A decree of legal separation does not terminate the marital status of the parties, however. A divorce will be granted by a county or district court when the court finds that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage relationship.
In a request for uncontested legal separation, both parties petition and neither party contests the granting of the decree or petitions for a decree of dissolution (divorce).
Divorce statutes in Minnesota permit dissolution of marriages based upon the grounds of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage. This is a "finding of irretrievable breakdown of the marriage with no reasonable prospect of reconciliation".
The parties must have either lived separate and apart for more than one hundred eighty (180) days or there must exist serious marital discord that adversely affects one or both of the parties toward the marriage. A couple filing for divorce may used the summary dissolution (uncontested) procedure if:
- no living minor children have been born to or adopted by the parties before or during the marriage, unless someone other than the husband has been proven to be the father,
- the wife is not pregnant,
- they have been married fewer than eight years as of the date they file their joint declaration,
- neither party owns any real estate,
- there are no unpaid debts in excess of $8,000 incurred by either or both of the parties during the marriage, excluding liens or loans on automobiles,
- the total fair market value of the marital assets does not exceed $25,000, including net equity on automobiles,
- neither party has non marital assets in excess of $25,000; neither party has been a victim of domestic abuse by the other.
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.06, 158.13]
In order for a dissolution of marriage (divorce) to be granted, one of the parties must have resided in Minnesota for no less than 180 after the filing for the action. Armed Services personnel also have to meet the 180 day test. A party may file a divorce action if they have been a resident of MN for at least the same 180 days, with regard to the defendant's domicile.
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.07, 518.09]
No residency requirement or waiting period applies.
If a divorce has been contested in the divorce proceedings that the marriage is irretrievably broken, and the judge ruled in favor for a decree of divorce, neither party may remarry before the time for appeal has expired. That time for appeal extends 90 days from the date of divorce.
Under Minnesota laws, in a contested proceeding involving custody or parenting time of a minor child, the parties are required to begin participation in a parent education counseling program within 30 days after the first filing with the court. Should the court see benefit from the parties participating in mediation sessions, it will so order.
[Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.619]
Grandparents may submit a petition to the court during or after proceedings for dissolution, legal separation. custody, annulment or paternity. The court will determine if visitation is in the best interest of the minor child by examining the prior relationship between the grandparent and grandchild and the impact of visitation on the parent-child relationship.
Should an adult child of a grandparent be deceased, the parents and grandparents of the deceased may apply for visitation.
A petition for visitation can be filed independently from the above actions if a grandchild has lived with a grandparent for longer than one year and was removed from the grandparent's home by a parent.
A Word On Your Journey Toward Healing And Recovery ...
At some point in the process, you will likely discover that you will not be able to manage the divorce recovery all by yourself. If you are a man, you are apt to bury the hurt and anguish and force yourself to Move On. However, unresolved feelings are just that- unresolved, and are likely to become issues later on. If you are a woman, you will feel the process more, and likely will experience a feeling of loss while feeling lost. We recommend you spend time discovering why things worked out as they did, so that you grow with the new knowledge. We offer a myriad of tools that can get you to the other side. The more you learn, the less you fear. Trust us on this. Spend some time and a few bucks and the return will be ten-fold.