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State residency requirements for divorce

For people contemplating divorce in Minnesota, one of the threshold issues is whether they meet the residency requirements. Minnesota courts, like those in other states, will generally only exercise their authority over disputes that have some connection with the state. In a divorce case, the Minnesota Legislature has defined the necessary connection in the state's residency requirements.

In Minnesota, courts will not grant a divorce unless at least one of the spouses has been a resident of Minnesota, maintained their domicile in Minnesota, or been stationed in Minnesota while serving in the military, for at least 180 days before the divorce action is commenced.

A person's domicile means their fixed, permanent home. Residency simply means where you live at the moment; a person may reside in one state but have their domicile in another. For example, a person who owns a primary residence in Minnesota will generally be considered to be domiciled here, even if they spend several months of every year in Florida.

Minnesota's residency rules can mean that newcomers to the state will have to wait before they can file for divorce in the state's courts. They can also be an issue for those considering a divorce if one spouse has moved away from Minnesota or is considering such a move in the near future. It's worth noting, as well, that a spouse who moves to another state can file for divorce in that state, so long as he or she meets residency requirements there. Nevada and Idaho require as little as six weeks, while several states require residency of a full year.

If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements, or how the residency requirements will affect their divorce, a knowledgeable family law attorney can provide guidance.

Source: Minn. Stat. § 518.07, accessed April 30, 2016

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