Divorce can be an expensive and overwhelming process. It is often difficult to know precisely how long a divorce will take to finalize. In Minnesota, the length of the process depends on various factors.
Some divorces resolve in a matter of weeks, while some take years to resolve. Typically, the time it takes to finalize a divorce in Minnesota depends on whether the spouses can come to any agreements without court involvement.
However, understanding the average divorce process may help alleviate some of the emotional and financial burden associated with divorce. Keep reading to understand how long a divorce takes in Minnesota.
Contested vs. Uncontested Divorce in Minnesota
A contested divorce means that spouses disagree on the outcome of the divorce. Common disagreements include spousal maintenance (also called alimony), custody, child support, or property division. Disagreements can be settled between divorcing spouses, their attorneys, or through mediation. If an agreement cannot be reached, the remaining issues will be decided by a judge.
An uncontested divorce means that both parties agree on all issues in the divorce, making the process more manageable and less time-consuming. Uncontested divorces are substantially less expensive than contested divorces. Narrowing down the contested issues in a divorce by coming to some agreements can save on time and cost.
For an uncontested divorce in Minnesota, consider these two options:
- Summary dissolution
- Dissolution by joint petition
To qualify for a summary dissolution, spouses must meet the following requirements.
- Neither should own real estate properties or assets
- Both should be married for more than eight years
- Both should not have any kids during the duration of the marriage
- No signs or reports of domestic abuse
- Marital assets should not exceed more than a $25,000 in value
- Debt should not exceed $8,000
For a dissolution by joint petition, parties should provide the following details to the court to help them make a fair decision. View the Minnesota court website for free court forms to help you organize the details below:
- Living expenses
- Income and employment information
- Health coverage
- Agreements on legal child custody, spousal support, and child support
Couples can also hire their own attorneys to draft and file a divorce decree on their behalf, even if the divorce is uncontested.
Divorce Timeline in Minnesota
Many states in the U.S. often impose mandatory waiting periods for divorce, but in Minnesota, this is not a requirement. To qualify for a divorce in Minnesota, one of the spouses should be living in the state for a minimum of 180 days or should be a member of the armed services with a Minnesota residency. When seeking a divorce, individuals can file a divorce petition in the county where either spouse lives.
Minnesota is a “no-fault” divorce state. If a divorce is needed, it is not a necessity or a requirement for a spouse to demonstrate their partner is in the wrong as a reason for separation.
Generally, uncontested divorces in Minnesota can take about four to six weeks to finalize. This is often dependent on the calendars of the attorneys or judges involved. If the parties choose a summary dissolution, the divorce can occur within 30 days after filing a petition.
However, the divorce process may take a long time to finalize if either party contests it. In cases where spouses can’t agree on any issue, the divorce process could take multiple years to conclude.
The first step of any divorce is one spouse serving the summons and petitioning the other, unless the spouses decide to file a joint petition. The length of the proceedings depends on the spouses’ cooperation. The more cooperative they are, the quicker the court can grant them the divorce.
Factors that Determine the Length of a Divorce in Minnesota
Here are some factors that can affect the length of the divorce process in Minnesota.
Child Support and Custody
If the spouses have children, parental responsibilities, including child support payments, are contentious issues requiring detailed, lengthy discussions during negotiation. As a result, some divorces can take longer if the spouses have differing views on custody and child support. It is essential for both spouses seeking divorce to have skilled divorce attorneys who can help them navigate through these issues in the most efficient way possible.
The Severity and Number of Disagreements
Divorces can become messy if the spouses have a myriad of complicated issues to resolve. For example,it is common that one spouse claims to need spousal maintenance from the other. It is common that this causes some disagreement between divorcing spouses. Some, or all, of the issues in a divorce can generally be solved without a trial. However, where trial is necessary the cost and length of a divorce will increase substantially.
Asset Distribution and Divisions
Dividing assets and properties can delay the divorce process. Some spouses may resist disclosing their assets, prompting a delay in proceedings as the other party awaits full disclosure. Such investigations may drag the case for months or years before the assets are declared, valued, and distributed equitably among spouses.
Money issues are a leading cause of divorces today. They also impact the divorce timeline significantly. Delays relating to finances are common when one party controls the family’s wealth.
Having a skilled divorce attorney by one’s side is imperative. An experienced attorney can help protect rights during negotiation and settlement. Finding a good lawyer can simplify and speed-up the divorce process, and even make the process cheaper because they will provide trusted advice.
Unforeseen circumstances like sickness, changing jobs and work schedules can also greatly delay negotiations and slow divorce. These things are often inevitable, and a good attorney will work with you to make as much progress as possible in the face of delay.
In addition, if the divorce goes to trial, the timeline may depend on how many cases the court is currently handling. Trials often take months to schedule, and can be delayed due to court and attorney timelines.
How to Speed Up the Divorce Process in Minnesota
Divorce is often difficult. In some cases, when spouses agree on the terms of the dissolution, a shorter timeline can be achieved. It is not possible to know how long a divorce is going to take, but a skilled attorney will be able to provide an estimate once they understand the particulars about a case. Fortunately, there are a few ways to hasten the process and make it less stressful.
Increased Willingness to Compromise
Not every spouse can agree with the terms for dissolving a marriage, especially if it involves finance distribution, asset division, child support, and custody. However, if they are willing to compromise on a few issues, it may reduce divorce conflicts and hasten the process. If you are hoping for a faster divorce, it is recommended to keep an open mind to your spouse’s positions in the divorce.
Working With an Attorney
Hiring an experienced divorce attorney to fight for one’s rights is crucial. An experienced attorney may know where the process can be moved along without compromising any legal rights. However, it is vital to communicate one’s desires effectively with the attorneys to speed up the process.
Understanding the Timeline of a Divorce Process in Minnesota
If a divorce is needed in Minnesota, you should seek an attorney that fights for your rights. We offer the best counsel, communication, and results. Our legal team can relieve the pressures of the divorce process from start to finish. Contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices today to speak with one of our attorneys about a divorce.
This article contains general legal information and does not provide legal advice. For legal advice, please contact M. Sue Wilson Law Offices directly.