Divorce in Minnesota involves a number of often overlooked basic elements, summarized here:

  • Parties: The initiating party in a dissolution action is the Petitioner, while the responding party is the Respondent.
  • Jurisdiction: Subject matter jurisdiction exists if one party has resided in Minnesota for at least 180 days. Personal jurisdiction exists if party is a resident of Minnesota, has minimum contacts with Minnesota, or submits to jurisdiction in Minnesota.
  • Venue: A dissolution action may be brought in a county in which either party resides at the time of commencement of the action.
  • Fault: Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state. Neither party will be penalized for conduct giving rise to dissolution of marriage.
  • Threshold: Court must find an irretrievable breakdown of the marital relationship, through testimony of at least one party.
  • Common Law Marriage: Minnesota does not recognize common law marriage as a legally binding marriage and they are void.
  • Cohabitants: Individuals who live together outside of marriage have limited rights and are not subject to dissolution statutes.

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