A legal separation in Minnesota is an official change to the status of your marriage, although you are still considered technically married. Separation is not required before divorce in Minnesota. According to the Minnesota Judicial Branch, getting a legal separation can take as long as a divorce and cost the same amount. A legal separation lays out the ground rules in many areas, including child custody and child support. All assets and debts are also permanently divided. Legal separation in Minnesota is governed under Minnesota Statutes Chapter 518.06.
File a petition in the district court in your county. You can find a list of district courts at the Minnesota District Courts website (see Resources section). Your petition must include your and your spouse's name and address and the date and location of your marriage.
Serve your spouse with the summons of your legal separation petition. You (or a server you hire) must personally give your spouse the service of your petition. If you cannot find your spouse to serve the petition, you may ask the court to allow you to serve the petition by mail.
Wait for your spouse to answer the petition for legal separation. He or she will have 30 days to address the claims in your petition.
Negotiate the factors of a legal separation. If you and your spouse can come to an agreement on these issues, a judge will usually sign off on whatever you two have decided. If all factors are uncontested, the judge may grant legal separation without a hearing.
Attend the hearing if the details of the legal separation are contested. The judge will hear both sides of the contested issue and rule for one side. After all issues are decided, he will grant a legal separation for you and your spouse.
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