Going through a divorce can be a cumbersome process, especially if you live in a state that has some unique laws the divorcing parties must follow. Below, we look at five states that drag out the divorce process, and Kelsey Karls explains how they stack up to Minnesota.
5. California – Although California is a no-fault state, getting unhitched in the The Golden State can be a drawn out process. It’s costs $395 to file for divorce, and the state has a unique “cooling off” law. Under California law, divorcing parties must wait at least six months after they file before their divorce can be completed. Even after six months, there is no guarantee your paperwork will be processed expediently, as experts say it can take 360 days for your divorce to become official.
4. Arkansas – It only costs $165 to file for divorce in Arkansas, but the state has one of the longest processing times in the nation. Arkansas has a minimum processing time of 540 days, during which the couple must live separately. If they cohabitate at all during the stretch, the processing clock resets.
3. South Carolina – Unlike the first two states, couples in South Carolina must be separated for at least one year before they can even file for divorce. Both parties must be residents of the state for at least three months. If one party moves out of state, the residency requirement stretches to one year.
2. Rhode Island – Rhode Island comes in as the cheapest state to file for divorce on this list at a paltry $120, but the states also boasts a minimum processing time of 510 days. After a couple files, the state institutes a mandatory five-month “cool down” period.
1. Vermont – Vermont comes in as the worst state for divorce because it presents a triple threat of annoyances. First, the couple must be residents for at least a year, and after they file, they must live apart for six-months. Secondly, Vermont’s processing time rivals Arkansas for the longest in the nation. Even after the divorce is finally processed, there is another three-month review period before the judge’s decree is finalized.
How Minnesota Compares
Minnesota requires at least one spouse to live in the state for 180 days prior to filing a divorce, however, if the party is really determined to separate assets, he/she can file for a legal separation at any time. The cost of filing for divorce in Minnesota is approximately $400, but low income parties can receive a fee waiver called an IFP (In Forma Pauperis).
If the parties enter an agreement regarding the terms of their divorce, or if there is a court trial disposing of all of the remaining issues, then the judge has 90 days to make a decision and sign off on the divorce. If there is an agreement between the parties, this process will rarely take all 90 days. However, this can depend on the complexity of the divorce, whether the parties are represented by counsel, and the judge’s availability.
Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, meaning that there need be no proof that there is infidelity, abandonment or that one party wronged the other in order to get a divorce. There is no required separation period for a divorce. There are also no punitive remedies if one spouse wronged the other. The court orders an “equitable” division of marital assets and debts, rather than equal. Finally, determination of custody and parenting time are based on the “best interests of the child” (minn. Stat. 518.17) and does not favor one gender of parent over the other. In all divorce in Minnesota is much less complicated than the above states.