The one possible downside to marriage equality? Same-sex divorce. Unfortunately, this version of dissolution can prove far more complicated than heterosexual divorce, in part because many same-sex couples lived together long before they married. Read on to learn more about same-sex divorce in Minnesota:

Minnesota and Same-Sex Marriage

Minnesota legalized same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court’s landmark decision. Voters rejected a state-based constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage in 2012. Just a few months later, Minnesota legislature passed a hallmark same-sex marriage bill. Federal legalization followed two years later, with the Supreme Court ruling previous bans unconstitutional.

Filing For Divorce

In Minnesota, same-sex couples face the same filing requirements as other spouses. One partner must reside in the state for at least 180 days before filing. Couples married in other states or nations with legal same-sex marriage can divorce upon meeting Minnesota’s minimum residency requirement. In fact, the state’s very first divorce involved a couple originally wed in Canada.

Property Division

Many same-sex spouses lived much like married couples long before they officially tied the knot. Unfortunately, for purposes of property division, the official marital relationship does not begin until the legalization of marriage. Thus, even if you lived like a married couple for two decades, state law only recognizes joint property extending back to 2013.

Minnesota is an equitable distribution state. This means that property is divided in an equitable (or fair) matter, as opposed to equally between spouses. This classification grants a modicum of flexibility in same-sex property division. However, many couples find it easier to divide their assets via mediation, as this allows for creative solutions not often pursued in court.

Custody and Visitation

Minnesota allows same-sex couples to petition for adoption. Those with children face the same custody and visitation concerns as their heterosexual peers. Custody disputes may be complicated by second-parent adoption arrangements, which were common for gay and lesbian couples prior to 2013.

The Brown Law Offices, P.A. offers a variety of essential same-sex divorce services for Minnesota residents. Call today to schedule a case consultation.

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Photo of Jason Brown Jason Brown

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated, with honors, from Mankato State University, Mankato in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason…

Jason Brown founded the Brown Law Offices, P.A. in 2003 after working for several years as an associate attorney in downtown Minneapolis. He graduated, with honors, from Mankato State University, Mankato in 1997 and the William Mitchell College of Law in 2000.

Jason has successfully litigated against some of the more recognized family law attorneys in the Twin Cities. He has been named a “Super Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters, and one of the Top 100 Family Law Attorneys in Minnesota by the Society of Legal Advocates.

In addition to his work as a lawyer, Jason serves as a mediator, and court-appointed early neutral evaluator, in divorce and family law cases throughout Minnesota. He frequently writes and speaks concerning divorce and family law issues, including several invitations to present seminars for the Minnesota Judicial Branch in St. Paul.

Beyond family law, Jason has represented hundreds of clients accused of a serious crime, including arson, fraud, unauthorized computer access, burglary, felony strangulation and obstruction of justice. He also provides estate planning services.

Local media appearances by Jason include WCCO Radio, KARE 11 Television, Fox 9 Television and WCCO Television. His national media appearances include NBC News, Time Magazine, USA Today and the Huffington Post.

Jason is the former chairperson of the Family Law Section of the Minnesota Trial Lawyer’s Association, and taught divorce and family law coursework within the paralegal program at North Hennepin Community College. He publishes the Minnesota Family Law Blog, which has been recognized as a “Top 25″ by the Minnesota State Bar Association.

Outside of the office, Jason enjoys playing the bass and electric guitar and spending time in the north woods of Wisconsin.


Areas of Practice
  • Divorce
  • Custody
  • Adoption
  • Restraining Orders
  • Prenuptial Agreements
  • Criminal Defense
  • Estate Planning
Notable Cases
  • Representation of Four Grandparents in Minnesota’s First Quad-Parenting Adoption
  • Representation of Client in Minnesota’s First Same-Sex Divorce
Bar Admissions
  • Minnesota State Bar, 2000
  • US District Court – District of Minnesota, 2002
Education
  • William Mitchell College of Law, 2000
  • Minnesota State University, Mankato, 1997
Joined Firm
  • 2003
Professional Associations & Activities
  • Minnesota State Bar Association
  • Presenter, Various CLE Courses
  • Monthly Columnist, Minnesota Lawyer Newspaper