Hafemeyer Law

Minnesota No Fault Divorce

In the past, and still in some states, Courts used evidence of fault when determining the division of property in a dissolution matter. For example, if a spouse cheated on another spouse the Court may award greater assets to the non-cheating spouse.  As the laws have changed, the reasons for the breakdown on the relationship have become less important.

Today, Minnesota allows couples to file divorce without the consent of the other spouse.  An explanation of the reasons for the breakdown in the relationship is not required in order to be granted a divorce.  The court does require a showing of a loss in the relationship without a chance of reconciliation, and a typical dissolution filing points to an “irretrievable
breakdown in the relationship” as the cause for the divorce.   No other details are necessary.

However, even today there are situations where a spouse’s poor behavior can be a factor in the dissolution process and weigh in the judge’s decision regarding property.  These situations are not as common as they once were, but there are situations which may cause the court to take actions into consideration.  For example, when a spouse has “wasted” marital assets, the Court may award the other spouse a greater value of marital assets. This can happen when one spouse has a gambling addiction and has lost much of the couple’s net worth, or has contributed significantly to the couple’s debts.

Another example is if one spouse’s actions have had an impact on the other spouse’s ability to work or earn a living. This may happen due to abuse or some other misconduct which places the other spouse into a position in which their ability to earn a living is compromised.

Minnesota courts will also look at the length of the marriage, age of each spouse, occupation, education, work history, inheritances and contribution to the marital balance sheet in the determination of an equitable division of property.

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