Divorce laws in Minneapolis, St. Paul or for that matter, all across the State of Minnesota are the same. The Minnesota State Legislature proposes divorce and family laws. Once the Governor of Minnesota signs off on the proposal, it becomes law.
Minnesota Courts also define and sometimes create law. Although all family law cases, including divorce cases, start at the Minnesota District Court level, any decisions by the District Court can be appealed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals. When the Court of Appeals issues a ruling, it can also create a new law at that time or interpret existing laws. This is often referred to as legal precedent, which is supposed to be followed by the District Courts in all future cases. The Court of Appeals provides a system for handling over 2,000 appeals each year. In addition, the Minnesota Supreme Court, which is the highest court in the State, decides approximately 200 cases a year. Not all cases are automatically heard by the Minnesota Supreme Court. A party must request permission to be heard for the case to be heard by the Supreme Court. A Supreme Court can overrule the Court of Appeals and may also set legal precedent for future cases.
Sometimes, Federal Laws are also intertwined with Minnesota divorce or child custody or support matters. For example, Federal laws control issues involving children residing in different states. Another example is federal tax laws concerning tax dependency exemptions for minor children in a divorce proceeding.
The State of Minnesota is split into several Judicial Districts. The two largest counties, Hennepin County and Ramsey County are the only two counties with their own District. A District covers anywhere between 1 to 17 counties. There are almost 300 judges across the state.
Local courts (example, Anoka County versus Dakota County) can have different rules of procedure or practice, although they cannot conflict with state rules. The location (venue) of a divorce case depends upon a few factors, primarily where people live.
Family law cases are civil cases and issues include divorce, child custody, parenting time, property division, spousal maintenance, post-decree motions, step parent adoption, paternity, domestic abuse and child support matters.