About a year ago, we posted a blog entry about venue. Since then, our family law attorneys continue to receive dozens of questions about where Minnesota divorce cases should be filed. As such, we thought it would be a good idea to explain in more detail what venue means in Minnesota divorce cases.
It should be noted that in order to file a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage, the form that is filed to begin a divorce, the spouse filing for divorce or the other spouse must have been a resident of Minnesota for at least 180 days (6 months) immediately before starting the divorce process. Here is how the residency requirement is explained in Minnesota statutes:
No dissolution shall be granted unless (1) one of the parties has resided in this state, or has been a member of the armed services stationed in this state, for not less than 180 days immediately preceding the commencement of the proceeding; or (2) one of the parties has been a domiciliary of this state for not less than 180 days immediately preceding commencement of the proceeding.
Now, back to venue. Venue is a legal term which reflects the particular county where the divorce case will be filed. Often times, the spouses live in the same county and thus, the case is filed in that county. Sometimes, the spouses live in different counties. In this case, the spouse filing for divorce has a choice: the petition may be filed in the county where either spouse resides.
When this happens, our Minnesota Divorce attorneys are often asked about the advantages and disadvantages of filing for divorce in a particular county. Regardless of the county, the judge will apply the same law. However, certain internal practices vary county to county. For example, in Dakota County, a different judge presides over the same case as it moves through the process, whereas in Hennepin and Ramsey County, the same judge presides over the divorce case from beginning to end. The last issue to consider is the amount of time it takes to complete a divorce. Generally speaking, it may be possible to obtain a divorce in less time in some counties.
Given these differences, it is always a good idea to talk with an experienced Family Law Attorney before deciding where to file for divorce. For more information, contact one of our experienced Minnesota family law attorneys for a free consultation or visit Minn. Stat. 518.07 and Minn. Stat. 518.09.