After couples decide to end their marriage, one of the first questions is frequently: ‘How long does a divorce take in Minnesota?’ Unfortunately, there is no one size fits all answer to that question. We know that when spouses decide to divorce, they may want it over as quickly as possible, but certain factors and disagreements can complicate the divorce process.
If you have questions about divorce in Minnesota, including how long the process takes and other related matters, contact a family law attorney at Perusse Nixon PLLC to discuss your case. No divorce case is the same, and the length of the process will depend on facts that are specific to your case. Our attorneys will meet with you to discuss the Minnesota divorce process and other relevant legal issues.
No-Fault Divorce Law
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, which means that it is not necessary to present evidence that one spouse’s bad acts or conduct caused the divorce. In Minnesota, one spouse only needs to state that their marriage is irretrievably broken to secure a court order for the dissolution of marriage.
Similarly, when a Minnesota court is deciding terms of the divorce, such as property division and spousal support, marital misconduct is not one of the factors considered in determining property and financial support allocation. Courts will look to what is fair and equitable to each spouse when deciding how to divide assets and calculate spousal support.
If spouses previously entered into a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, the court will first determine whether or not the marital agreement is valid. If the court finds that it is enforceable, the court will then look to the terms of the agreement when making decisions as part of the divorce process.
Length of Time for an Uncontested Divorce in Minnesota
When spouses agree to divorce terms, and there is nothing for the courts to decide for the spouses, the divorce is known as an uncontested divorce. These divorces can be finalized more quickly than contested divorces. Once the necessary paperwork has been filed, a divorce could be finalized in as quickly as a few days or up to three months.
Contested Divorce in Minnesota
Contested divorces, where spouses cannot agree to specific terms, take longer to finalize. It is impossible to put a length of time on a contested divorce without knowing particular case facts. As a general rule, the more disagreements the spouses have about the divorce, the longer the divorce process will take.
Factors That Impact the Length of the Contested Divorce Process
See below for factors that may impact the divorce process.
- Mediation – Spouses may attend mediation to try to work through the terms of their divorce. When mediation is successful, and both parties come to an agreed-upon arrangement, the divorce process should move along relatively quickly from there. On the other hand, if mediation is unsuccessful, the process will be drawn out until the couple eventually comes to an agreement, or until the court makes the decisions for them.
- Contested prenuptial or postnuptial agreements – Minnesota marital agreements must comply with Minnesota legal requirements to be valid and enforceable. If one spouse challenges the marital agreement, it will take time for the court to hear evidence from both sides and determine whether or not it is enforceable.
- Spousal support – When couples do not agree on spousal support terms, they present their arguments and evidence for courts to decide. Sometimes experts such as vocational evaluators or financial experts are used to help present evidence and arguments. Courts look at several factors to determine whether or not support will be ordered, how much support is ordered and for how long support payments are to be made.
- Debt and asset division – Dividing debts and assets can be a lengthy and complicated process. Courts must decide which debts and assets are separate property and which are marital property. Then the courts will decide how to divide the debts and assets between spouses in an equitable manner.
- Child custody and support – Child support and custody matters can cause significant delays in the divorce process. Courts will hear from both sides and from witnesses before deciding custody and support arrangements that are in the child’s best interests. Sometimes experts such as custody evaluators are used to present evidence as to the child’s best interests.
Perusse Nixon Can Answer All of Your Divorce Questions
If you have questions about the length of your divorce proceedings or other related matters, contact our office to schedule an appointment with a family law attorney. At Perusse Nixon PLLC, we understand that divorce is stressful and emotional, and our attorneys will provide you with highly skilled and compassionate representation.