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Family Court

Family court handles cases where parties seek court intervention to solve their family issues.  Judges hear and decide cases involving divorce, paternity, domestic abuse, child custody, child support, and parenting time.

Dissolution of Marriage/Divorce:
The law states that before you can begin a divorce in Minnesota, you or your spouse must have lived in Minnesota for the last six months, OR you and your spouse must be a member of the armed forces stationed in Minnesota for the last six months.  If neither you nor your spouse have lived in Minnesota for the last six months, you cannot get a divorce in Minnesota yet.  You must wait until one of you has lived in Minnesota for at least six months.  File in the county where either you or your spouse live now.

  1. Summary Dissolution is possible only for couples who:
    (1) have no children together;
    (2) have been married less than eight years;
    (3) don't own any land or buildings;
    (4) don't owe more than $8,000;
    (5) neither party has been a victim of domestic abuse during the marriage; and
    (6) can agree on how the things they own and the debts they owe will be divided once they are no longer married.

Link to Summary Dissolution Instructions and Forms on Court Forms page

    2.   Dissolution with Children
Link to Dissolution with Children Instructions and Forms on Court Forms page

    3.   Dissolution without Children
Link to Dissolution without Children Instructions and Forms on Court Forms page

Domestic Abuse - Order for Protection:
An Order for Protection (OFP) is a Court order that may help protect you from domestic abuse.  An OFP tells the abuser to stop harming or threatening you or your children.
Link to Domestic Abuse Instructions on Court Forms page

Child Custody:
To Establish Custody (link to Establish Custody Instructions on Court Forms page)
Use this form if: 

  1. there is no court order deciding custody and parenting time (visitation) rights, 
  2. you are the child's parent,
  3. at the time of the child's birth, you and the other parent were not married to each other, and
  4. there is proof that the man is the father, in the form of either a Recognition of Parentage or a Paternity Order.

To Change Custody (link to Request Change of Custody on Court Forms page)

  1. You cannot use these forms unless there is already a court order awarding custody.  
  2. You cannot ask the court to change the child's custody if:
  • It has been less than one year since the last custody order, or 
  • If it has been less than 2 years since the last request to change custody, unless the child(ren) is/are currently in danger or unless there is a persistent and willful denial of or interference with parenting time or unless the other party agrees in writing to change custody.

Child Support:

1.  Expedited Child Support Process (ExPro)(link to Court Forms page)
Motion to Modify Support
You may use the Expedited Child Support Motion to Modify forms if:

  • There is already an existing court order setting or reserving support.  You are asking the court to change child support, medical support, and/or child care.  
  • You are not asking the court to change parenting time (visitation) or custody, and  
  • You and/or the other party received public assistance or child support services from the county.

2. District Court Child Support Process (link to Court Forms page)
Motion to Modify Child Support and/or Spousal Maintenance
You may use the District Court Motion to Modify Child Support and/or Spousal  Maintenance:

  • There is already an existing court order setting or reserving child support and/or spousal maintenance.  You are asking the court to change child support, medical support, child care, and/or spousal maintenance
  • You are not asking the court to change parenting time (visitation) or custody and  
  • You are filing this motion to be heard in district court, because you are not receiving services from the local human services department.

Parenting Time:
The term "Visitation" was changed to "Parenting Time" by the Minnesota Legislature, effective 1/1/01.  http://www.mncourts.gov

Available Family Court Resources:
**  Videos on how to file a dissolution and how to file a family court motion are available at the Court Administrator's office and at the Willmar Public Library. You may also access videos online at www.mncourts.gov/selfhelp

** The Kandiyohi County Law Library is located in the lower level of the Kandiyohi County Courthouse and is open to the public from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.

**  Online forms, including "A Parental Guide to Making Child Focused Parenting Time Decisions", are available at  www.mncourts.gov

**  Court forms are also available at the court administrator's office.