Depending on a state’s residency requirements, generally, parties can be divorced in any state that they are residing in so long as they meet the residency requirements or any other requirements for that state. Minnesota Statute § 518.07 states that a divorce cannot be granted in Minnesota unless one of the following is met:
(1) one of the parties has resided in this state, or has been a member of the armed services stationed in this state, for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding; or
(2) one of the parties has been a domiciliary of this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding commencement of the proceeding.
By way of example, this means, if you move from Wisconsin to Minnesota, before you can obtain a divorce in Minnesota, you need to reside in Minnesota for at least 180 days before you can petition the Court in Minnesota for a divorce. Once you reach the residency threshold, at that point, you can file for divorce in the county that you are residing in. If you are living in Hennepin County, you cannot file for divorce in Ramsey County. This changes, however, if you and your spouse reside in different counties within Minnesota. If you reside in Hennepin County and your spouse resides in Ramsey County, if your spouse files for divorce first, they would file your dissolution matter in Ramsey County, as that is where they are residing. In this instance, it is just a matter of who files for divorce first.
There are also actions for dissolution that can be filed by certain non-residents under § 518.07, as well, including:
(a) If neither party to the civil marriage is a resident of this state at the commencement of the proceeding, a court of this state has jurisdiction over the dissolution if:
(1) the civil marriage was performed in this state; and
(2) neither party to the civil marriage resides in a jurisdiction that will maintain an action for dissolution by the parties because of the sex or sexual orientation of the spouses.
Generally speaking, in order to obtain a divorce in Minnesota, you and/or your spouse must reside in Minnesota for at least 180 days prior to petitioning the Court for relief. This is generally a straightforward issue to handle. However, in some instances, some spouses have relocated to other states or countries, which could impact the Court’s jurisdiction over them, especially if they have never resided in Minnesota.
If you have any questions regarding what State may have jurisdiction over a divorce proceeding, it is important that you obtain legal advice. For example, depending upon the timeframe and your specific situation, a divorce may be initiated in another state as well as Minnesota. A spouse may be temporarily absent from Minnesota but may claim that he or she is no longer a resident of Minnesota. Most of these questions involve a consideration of intent which is a fact-specific inquiry.
If you would like to know more about your options for divorce in Minnesota or whether you meet Minnesota’s residency requirements, please call me today at 952-800-2025 or reach out via our online contact form to set up your free consultation.