All property owned by the couple belongs to each spouse, and each spouse has the right to use or dispose of it. A joint bank account or credit card can be used by either person. You can use either spouse’s car if it is in both of their names. This general rule has some exceptions. The spouses cannot cash checks made out to each other. An account that is in the name of only one spouse cannot be withdrawn from by either spouse. Vehicles in the name of one spouse cannot be sold to the other spouse. Neither can sell real estate in both names, or in one spouse’s name.
An anticipatory divorce does not give a spouse the right to dispose of property or money. As an example, the court can still order the spouses to split money from retirement accounts, even if one spouse cashed out their retirement account so the other spouse wouldn’t get it.
Family court judges can order a spouse to share responsibility for the debts of the other spouse, even if that spouse is unaware of the debts or didn’t agree to them.
There is no difference in the rights of each spouse if there are children of the marriage:
- where the children live
- where the children go to school
- whether the children should see a doctor
Children’s best interests should be considered if there is no threat of harm. Maintaining relationships with both parents is vital for children.
Do not let your children go if you are concerned your spouse will harm them or not return them. However, a court order is required to keep your children with you.
What are my rights if I am being abused, hurt or threatened?
Neither you nor your child have the right to be threatened or hurt by anyone, even your spouse.
If you are being threatened, hurt, or abused right now, call 9-1-1.
An Order for Protection (OFP) may be available to you. Domestic violence (or household violence) can be stopped by an Order for Protection (OFP). The abuser will be ordered not to hurt you. This may also include:
- make the abuser leave your home
- keep the abuser away from you
- order temporary custody or parenting time (visitation)
- order temporary child support or spousal maintenance
If you’re still living together or if you’ve started a divorce, it doesn’t matter.
What are the grounds for divorce?
There is a no-fault divorce law in Minnesota. The spouse does not have to do anything wrong for you to get a divorce. Basically, you need to say that there has been an “irretrievable breakdown of the marriage.” This means that there is no hope of the two of you living together once again as spouses.
As a “no-fault” state, a spouse who wants a divorce will be granted one even if their spouse does not want one.
Moreover, a court cannot consider who was at fault when it is deciding issues in a divorce case. When the court decides how to split the couple’s money or who gets custody of the children, it won’t do so based on whether one spouse cheated on the other.
Who can ask for a divorce?
Before you can initiate a divorce, you must have lived in Minnesota for at least six months. If a service member has kept his or her residence in Minnesota, then he or she can file for divorce.
How long will a divorce take?
Divorces take varying amounts of time depending on several factors. It will only take a few months for a divorce to be finalized if both parties reach an agreement or if one spouse never responds to the divorce papers. Judges will decide if the spouses are unable to agree. In this case, the court will need to obtain information and schedule hearings in order to make a fair decision. There can be a six-month to two-year delay in divorce when the parties disagree.
Does divorce work differently in a same-sex marriage in Minnesota?
The state of Minnesota legalized same-sex marriages on August 1, 2013. On this date, Minnesota also became the first state to recognize same-sex marriages legally recognized in other states.
All Minnesota laws and procedures that deal with marriage or divorce apply to same-sex couples. Same-sex couples who are considering divorce may benefit from consulting with an attorney.
My case is uncontested. Should I still partner with a lawyer?
You should always be aware of your legal rights before entering into a divorce that may not be modifiable. You should consult or, at the very least, retain an attorney if your spouse hires one. Having someone familiar with Minnesota law assist you in assessing issues and signing proper paperwork is essential.