How Does Minnesota No-Fault Divorce Work?

In the past, a person seeking a divorce had to prove that the other spouse did something wrong or was somehow at fault for the failure of the marriage. Common grounds for divorce included adultery, domestic violence, abandonment, cruelty, substance abuse or the imprisonment of one of the spouses. Before a divorce would be granted, at least one of these grounds had to be proven in court. Fault-based divorce cases were often extremely bitter proceedings, with lots of arguing about who had done what.

Today, Minnesota is a purely no-fault state, meaning that no one needs to allege or prove fault in order to obtain a divorce. Under current law, either spouse only has to allege that the marriage has suffered an irretrievable breakdown. Whether the other spouse agrees with this assessment or not, the spouse seeking the divorce will be entitled to end the marriage.

In general, issues of fault may not be considered during the property division process. State law prevents a court from using these factors to punish one spouse or reward the other. Instead, assets and debts are divided equitably based on a variety of circumstances.

The issues or problems that led up to a divorce may be considered, however, when determining child custody and visitation. Because a court must act in the best interest of the child or children involved, it may need to take into account issues such as violence, gambling or substance abuse.

For a better understanding of how adultery or other types of fault can affect a divorce case, contact a knowledgeable Minnesota divorce lawyer at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. today.

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