How to File for Divorce in Minnesota Without a Lawyer?

A man reads how to properly file for divorce in Minnesota.

Filing for an uncontested divorce in Minnesota without a lawyer is possible when spouses mutually agree on all key issues, including property division, child custody, and support, and there are no complex legal matters or disputes to resolve in court.

The article focuses on outlining the steps, advantages, and costs associated with getting an uncontested divorce without legal representation.

Can You Get a Divorce in Minnesota Without a Lawyer?

Getting a divorce in MN without a lawyer is reasonable if your divorce is uncontested. You can file for divorce in Minnesota on your own by searching for and filling out all the required forms yourself and by following the state’s guidelines for self-representing parties while submitting documents to the court.          

Benefits of Getting a Divorce in Minnesota Without a Lawyer

Picture of the benefits of divorce without a lawyer in Minnesota
First of all, getting a divorce without a lawyer in Minnesota can have cost-saving benefits.

Filing for divorce in MN without involving an attorney offers several benefits, as specified below:

  1. Cost savings: Avoiding attorney fees can significantly reduce the expenses on divorce proceedings.
  2. Faster process: DIY divorce often proceeds more quickly because spouses are not dependent on lawyers and do not need to adjust to their schedules.
  3. Confidentiality: Personal matters remain private and aren’t disclosed in a public courtroom.   

Steps for Filing for Uncontested Divorce in Minnesota

The uncontested divorce process in Minnesota is usually straightforward and less complicated than contested proceedings since there is no need for lengthy court litigation.

By filing for an uncontested divorce, spouses can significantly reduce the emotional and financial burden and reach an amicable marriage dissolution by going through the following steps:

1) Meet Residency Requirements

To initiate a marriage dissolution, you must comply with residency requirements and establish a legally valid ground for terminating your marriage.

According to divorce residency requirements in Minnesota, at least one spouse must reside in the state or be a military member stationed there for not less than 180 days before filing. As for grounds for divorce in Minnesota, it is a no-fault state, and the only official ground recognized by law is the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, where reconciliation is not possible.

2) Gather Necessary Documents

Before preparing Minnesota divorce paperwork, make sure you have access to all documents that may be required when filling out the forms. These can be financial records, marriage certificate, tax returns, proof of residency, documents on insurance, etc.

3) Complete the Divorce Petition

Visit the Minnesota Judicial Branch website to find the divorce forms needed in your divorce case. Fill out the Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, which is an official request to court to grant you a divorce, and the Summons needed to inform the other party about the marriage dissolution.

To save time and money on legal paperwork, you can utilize an online divorce service. After you complete a comprehensive questionnaire, our system will automatically identify the relevant forms for your specific case and fill them with the information provided. You can then download the ready-to-file forms from your profile.


4) Serve the Divorce Papers

Serving divorce papers means delivering copies of Summons and Petition for Dissolution of Marriage to the defendant to notify them about the divorce. It can be done by a process server, a sheriff, or any other person of at least 18 years old, who should then provide you with an Affidavit of Personal Service.

If your spouse agrees to sign a Waiver of Service of Summons, this step can be omitted.

5) Wait for the Response

The defendant must provide a response to the Petition within 30 days after being served. If both parties consent to the conditions outlined in the Petition, they can prepare a Stipulated Judgment and Decree to file it with the court.

If the defendant disagrees with any divorce terms specified, they can file an Answer and Counterpetition, indicating their point of view on marriage termination issues. In such a case, divorce becomes contested and may require a lawyer’s involvement.

6) File the Forms with the Court

Woman fills out divorce forms with court in Minnesota
Filing divorce forms with the court in Minnesota is essential to initiate legal proceedings, ensuring that the divorce process is officially recognized.

Before filing, you will need to fill out other forms such as the Confidential Information, Cover Sheet for Non-Public Documents, Certificate of Representation, Stipulated Judgment and Decree, etc.

To file your divorce papers, make copies of all documents and submit originals to the district court clerk in the county where either you or your spouse resides.

7) Pay Filing Fees

Divorce court fees include the mandatory cost of filing for divorce, which is currently $365, with potential additional county fees. If you can’t afford it, request a fee waiver using an Affidavit to Proceed In Forma Pauperis form.

8) Attend Court Hearing (if Required)

If the judge disagrees with the provisions that you described in the Petition or some terms are against the law, you’ll receive a notice to attend a court hearing. It provides an opportunity to present your case and address any unresolved matters with the assistance of the judge.

9) Obtain Final Decree

Spouses obtain final decree of divorce in Minnesota
Obtaining a final decree of divorce in MN involve the completion of various steps such as agreement on terms, financial disclosures, and adherence to court procedures.

If the paperwork filed by the spouses is in order, and the agreements made are reasonable and do not contradict the law, the judge will approve the divorce by signing The Judgment and Decree.  It officially terminates the marriage and outlines the final decisions regarding property division, child custody, child support, and alimony.

How to Settle Disagreements Without a Lawyer

It is possible to settle disagreements during a divorce in Minnesota using Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods, which offer an opportunity to address legal issues out of court.

ADR services commonly include:

  1. Mediation – a neutral mediator helps spouses communicate, negotiate, and reach agreements on various divorce issues.
  2. Arbitration – a neutral arbitrator makes binding decisions on disputes. While this is more formal than mediation, it frequently remains less confrontational than taking part in court battles.
  3. Settlement Conferences – these are structured negotiations, often with legal representation, where both parties try to reach an agreement before court proceedings.

Cost of Divorce in Minnesota Without a Lawyer

The cost of an uncontested divorce can be around $500 if parties deal with the case entirely on their own, from searching for papers to representing themselves at a court hearing.

Opting for a divorce online in Minnesota if your case is uncontested can significantly reduce the cost of marriage dissolution, which can be equal to filing fees if you prepare all the documents yourself and do not involve any legal experts. It’s a cost-effective alternative to traditional divorce with a lawyer. With do-it-yourself divorce in Minnesota, you can significantly save on attorney fees. If you need help with paperwork, you can get it from online divorce services that will provide the necessary forms for your specific case at a moderate cost.

Share this post: