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How Long Does Divorce Take in Minnesota?

by | Jul 13, 2021 | Divorce, Firm News

It’s impossible for anyone to say exactly how long it will take to divorce your spouse without knowing the details of the circumstances. When you’re asking how long does divorce take in Minnesota, know that a wide range of factors can influence the timeline. Your divorce will be unique to you.

Going through a divorce is rarely an easy experience. It’s understandable that the parties involved often want to complete the process as quickly as possible. If you’re a Minnesotan preparing to get a divorce, you may be wondering, how long does divorce take in Minnesota?

This general guide on how long it takes to get a divorce in Minnesota will cover the essentials, helping you get a more realistic sense of how long you should expect the process to last. Just remember, while resolving the situation quickly may seem ideal, you don’t want to make unnecessary sacrifices or concessions in order to speed up your divorce. In the long run, you’ll likely wish you’d spent more time negotiating for a more equitable outcome.

Consider Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in Minnesota

This is one of the many reasons it’s important to enlist the help of a qualified and experienced family law and divorce lawyer in Minnesota when you’re getting a divorce. They’ll work hard to ensure that when your divorce is finalized, you’re satisfied.

A Realistic Timeline for a Minnesota Divorce

There are instances when getting a divorce in Minnesota can take as little as four weeks. This occurs when both spouses agree on various issues and work together (typically through their lawyers) to arrive at a mutually satisfying resolution quickly.

However, it’s often the case that spouses divorcing one another disagree on a number of issues. If the disagreements are fairly basic and both parties are willing to make some reasonable concessions, a divorce may take up to six months. That said, there are instances when significant disagreements can cause the divorce process to last years.

This is another reason it’s critical to hire the right Minnesota family lawyer when getting a divorce. Although no attorney can promise to convince your soon-to-be ex to change their mind on issues they may be stubborn about, they can negotiate on your behalf and increase your chances of finalizing the divorce relatively fast.

Factors Affecting How Long it Takes to Get a Divorce in Minnesota

Again, many factors can influence the timeline of a divorce. The following are among the more significant.

Children and Child Custody After Divorce

Divorces often take longer when there are children involved. Parents divorcing from one another tend to disagree over who should have custody of the children.

In some instances, it’s easy to determine which parent should have custody. If one parent has been clearly more involved in raising the kids up until this point or if one parent is unable to provide for them (whether financially, emotionally, or both), determining who should be the primary caregiver won’t be too difficult.

However, it’s often the case that both parents may seem to have strong arguments for why they should have custody. Skilled family law attorneys can help when this happens by carefully assessing all the reasons one parent is better-suited for the role of caregiver.


Research shows that money issues are among the leading causes of divorce in the US. Unfortunately, finances can also impact the length of the divorce process.

Depending on the details of the circumstances, one spouse may argue they’re entitled to a certain dollar amount or a share of the assets when getting a divorce. They may be unwilling to finalize the divorce until they feel they’ve been granted what they deserve.

Once more, an attorney’s help can be vital when this happens. If they can convince the lawyer of the stubborn spouse that what they’re asking for is unreasonable, the lawyer of the spouse who’s requesting more than they deserve might explain to them that they’re unlikely to get the deal they’re asking for, and should thus accept less in order to finalize the process and save money in the long run.

Disagreement Over the Divorce in Minnesota

Sometimes, one spouse will not wish to get a divorce from the other spouse. They may drag out the process in the vain hope that the spouse who initiated the divorce will change their mind.

This can be a very painful experience for all involved. However, it’s important to protect yourself when this happens. Don’t make the mistake of offering your spouse more than they deserve during negotiations in order to convince them to set aside their emotions and finalize the divorce. This may be tempting, but later, you’ll be unhappy that you came to an “agreement” that’s less-than-ideal for you because you simply wanted to wrap up the process. Your lawyer can advise you when you’re giving up more than you should.


It’s not uncommon for divorcing spouses to have difficulty communicating and cooperating with one another. This may even be one of the main reasons they’re getting a divorce.

However, sometimes spouses are able to cooperate, despite no longer being able to stay married. If you and your spouse communicate and work together, the divorce process will go much more smoothly and quickly.


This may seem like a basic detail, but it’s an important one, as scheduling issues can have a relatively significant impact on how long a divorce may take in Minnesota.

Often, the divorce process involves meetings between spouses and their attorneys, court appearances, and other events that need to be scheduled. If spouses and/or their attorneys are busy, or the court is somewhat backed up, the process can take longer than it might need to.

However, it’s important to understand that it’s possible to limit the number of meetings and court appearances that need to occur if both spouses can agree on various issues. This is often easier with the help of a skilled Minnesota family lawyer.

Getting a Divorce in Minnesota: Need-to-Know Information

Along with understanding how long it takes to get a divorce in Minnesota, there are a few more important points you should be familiar with when divorcing your spouse. They include the following:

Minnesota’s ‘No-Fault’ Divorce Law

To file for a divorce in Minnesota, you have to have resided in the state for at least 180 days. However, exceptions are made when at least one spouse is a member of the armed forces and has kept their Minnesota residency.

Luckily, Minnesota is a “no-fault” divorce state. That means you can get a divorce without needing to demonstrate that your spouse did something “wrong.” Even if your spouse doesn’t want to get a divorce, you can still be granted one.

Additionally, no-fault laws limit the court’s ability to consider various factors when making key decisions. For example, there may be disagreements over custody, but when resolving this issue, the court can’t account for whether one spouse cheated on the other.

Rights During the Divorce Process in Minnesota

Generally, under Minnesota law, both spouses have equal rights during the divorce process. This impacts the degree to which both spouses may access and use assets and property during the divorce.

For example, if you and your spouse have a joint bank account, during the divorce process, both of you can withdraw money from it. If you have a car that’s under both of your names, both of you can drive it until the divorce is finalized. However, if the car is only under your name, your divorce doesn’t have the right to use it, even if you allowed them to do so freely in the past.

The law does not allow either spouse to eliminate property, assets, or money when anticipating a divorce. For instance, perhaps one spouse doesn’t want the other to share any of the funds from a retirement account when the divorce is finalized. Thus, they might cash out the account. Even if they do, though, the court can still require them to share the money.

Important Divorce Terminology

The following are a few key terms worth being familiar with if you’re planning on getting a divorce in Minnesota:

  • Dissolution of marriage: This is the legal term for divorce in Minnesota.
  • Legal separation: A legal separation involves addressing many of the key issues spouses would settle during a typical divorce, such as custody issues and division of assets. However, a legal separation isn’t technically a divorce. Spouses who opt for legal separations instead of divorces often do so for religious purposes.
  • Annulment: An annulment involves a court ruling that two people were never legally married to begin with. For example, a court may grant an annulment if one spouse was unable to consent to a marriage (perhaps due to limited mental abilities) or one of the spouses was too young to get married at the time that they did. That said, it’s important to understand that legal annulments are not the same as religious annulments, which must be granted by religious institutions and which don’t affect legal marriages.

How Long Does Divorce Take in Minnesota? Ask a Minnesota Divorce Lawyer

Yes, getting a divorce is often challenging, and it makes sense that you’d want to see the process through as quickly as possible. Still, you shouldn’t sacrifice more than is necessary simply to finalize a divorce in a few weeks. If you’re wondering how long does a divorce take in Minnesota, you should consider hiring a divorce lawyer in Minnesota to ensure your needs and rights are protected.

Contact a divorce lawyer from Carlson & Jones for a free consultation.