Minnesota Legal Separation: What Separating Couples Must Know

If you are like many spouses, you probably feel you want to separate from your spouse but think you are not ready for divorce. Indeed, you may decide to stay legally separated. In the state of Minnesota, this includes filing a petition in the county or district court and giving the other party a copy of the petition. Separation in the state means living apart. You both can arrange your separation informally or with the help of a mediator or Mankato family lawyer. If you choose to separate legally, your marital status will change. Just like divorce, legal separation is complicated and can be costly and lengthy.

More About Legal Separation in Minnesota

Couples in the state do not need to be legally separated before they divorce. However, both legal separation and divorce have a lot of similarities. Just like divorce, the legal separation process involves determining child custody, arranging child support, and effecting spousal support if needed. Also, the assets and liabilities of the couple must be divided.

But, while it is equally complicated, being separated legally does not end your marriage since you stay married after the decree is granted by a court. When your legal separation becomes final, the wife may change her name. If you and your spouse decide to divorce, you should go through the court process to make it happen.

How the Legal Separation Process Works

The legal separation process starts with both spouses signing a separation agreement to resolve child-related, property, and debt issues. This document can be quite complex and detailed, depending on your marriage’s unique situation. Your lawyer can draft this agreement. Your separation papers such as Summons, Petitions, and Affidavit of Service must be submitted to your county’s district court for the case to start. A copy of these papers must be served to your spouse. Service of these papers should be done in person.

Are Three Grounds Needed to File a Legal Separation

In Minnesota, couples who want to legally separate from their spouses don’t need grounds to do so. A legal separation decree can be granted if both spouses petition for it and the petition is not contested. A legal separation can be turned into a divorce. This involves filing an answer that requests the modification.

But, there is a residency requirement to meet. One of the spouses should live in Minnesota for a minimum of 180 days before filing. Also, the petition can be filed in the county where either spouse resides.

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