Filing for divorce in Minnesota can be difficult because there is a lot of paperwork and different rules involved in the proceedings.

First things first, in order to file for divorce, you and your spouse need to have lived in Minnesota for at least six months. During this process, Minnesota will grant a divorce without considering spousal wrongdoing, however, fault may play a role in determining alimony or property distribution. Finalizing a divorce takes at least one month (30 days) but usually takes at least a few months for all of the paperwork to be processed and finalized.

With that basic information out of the way, here is how to file for divorce in Minnesota:

Requirements to File for Divorce

There are a few requirements which Minnesota needs spouses to complete in order to move forward with filing the divorce.

  • Lived in Minnesota. At least one spouse must have lived in Minnesota for at least six months (180 days)
  • Divorce Education Class. If you have children, Minnesotan law requires that both spouses attend a divorce education class if you do not agree on custody or visitation issues.
  • One Spouse Wants a Divorce. Minnesota is a no-fault state, meaning that almost all divorces are granted as long as one spouse wants one.

Starting the Divorce Process

A Summons and a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage must both be filed to initiate the divorce process. The filing fee will depend upon your county, but usually average about $400. You must also file a Certificate of Representation.

Notify Spouse

To notify your spouse that legal action is being taken against them, you must notify them with a Service of Process by delivering copies of the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage and Summons along with supporting documents to your spouse in a timely fashion. You can do so in person, by mail or by publication in a local newspaper for when spouses live out of state or cannot be located. Once Service of Process has been completed, your spouse has 30 days to respond to the petition or lose certain legal rights.

Contested vs. Uncontested

Contested. If you and your spouse cannot agree on issues related to the divorce, then it is considered a contested divorce (high cost). The trial will be long and costly, including a jury or bench trial. Hiring an experienced attorney to protect your assets and interests is the recommended course of action.

Uncontested. If you and your spouse agree on all of the issues related to the divorce and you meet certain criteria, you may be able to have an expedited, uncontested (low cost) divorce process.


The cheapest way to get a divorce is by self-representation as long as both parties agree. The medium cost option is to go the mediation route, which is about 20-50 percent cheaper than a traditional divorce. The most expensive option, a divorce trial, is for spouses who cannot agree on divorce issues, and need a jury, judge or court to do that for them.