A question we sometimes get from our clients is whether they can change venue in their divorce case to another county. There are many reasons a client might want a change of venue. Often, it is based on change in residence. The short answer is, yes, it is possible to change venue under certain circumstances. According to Minnesota Statutes § 542.11, “The venue of any civil action may be changed by order of the court… when the convenience of witnesses and the ends of justice would be promoted by the change.”
Cases often start where one party and/or a minor child resides. It is often a matter of who files first. If you are not the initiating party, you might find yourself having to travel. Once filed, the county of residence will act as a venue for the case. If the person filing changes residence, they may request a change. A party can move to change the venue during the case or at a later date.
The Court will often look to changes that promote the convenience of witnesses. The party claiming this would bear the burden of proof to demonstrate that the attendance of witnesses would be burdened by the current venue location. It will also have to be demonstrated that there is sufficient substance in their testimonies. This can be done by affidavit or other evidence.
Another move for a change can come from an effort to make it convenient to obtain evidence relevant to the case. Promoting the convenience in gathering evidence relevant to the issues at hand is a large consideration given by the Court. If it can be shown that the current venue will act as an impediment to this end, a venue change can be granted.
Each case is different, and the act of changing a venue can be a tricky issue to litigate, especially when the original county has had the case for a long period of time. If you feel that a change in venue for your divorce is in the best interest of your case, let your attorney know. They can determine if a motion could be successful and take the necessary steps to make the motion on your behalf.