Divorcing Your Same-Sex Spouse in Minnesota

According to the U.S. Census, there are 10,200 same-sex couples in Minnesota. The Williams Institute estimates that approximately 5,000 of these couples will marry within the first three years of same-sex legalization. This August marks the one year anniversary of same-sex marriage being legalized in Minnesota. To date, however, 31 states still ban same-sex marriage.

At first glance, same-sex divorce may seem the same as opposite-sex divorce, yet there are certain things you must be wary of, including:

  • Still legally married? — If you entered into a same-sex marriage in a state that legally recognized the marriage and previously did not get divorced because it was not offered in Minnesota, now that same-sex marriage is recognized in Minnesota, you are still legally married. In order to marry a new spouse, you must get divorced or your marriage will be void.
  • Residency requirement — In order to obtain a divorce in Minnesota, you or your spouse must live in Minnesota for 180 days before initiating a divorce proceeding. If you were married in a different state that legally recognizes same-sex marriage, you must meet this residency requirement if you wish to obtain a divorce in Minnesota. However, if you entered into a same-sex marriage in Minnesota and subsequently move to another state that does not recognize same-sex marriage and will not process your divorce, you can get a divorce in Minnesota without establishing residency.
  • No official divorce forms — Currently, there are no court forms for obtaining a same-sex divorce. However, the court does allow the modification of existing divorce forms. In order to amend this documentation properly, it is in your best interests to seek competent legal advice.
  • Lack of experienced legal counsel — Given the fact that same-sex marriage is less than a year old in Minnesota, there is a lack of divorce attorneys with sufficient experience.

Regardless of why your marriage is coming to an end — infidelity, communication problems, etc. — a lawyer can provide you with the information and guidance you need to move on with your life. Despite the fact that same-sex marriage and divorce are relatively young in Minnesota, there are experienced attorneys in the state who are ready to review your case and help you dissolve your union.

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