13th Oct 2017
A common question raised by individuals in the weeks and months following a divorce is whether their dissolution decree may be vacated or re-opened subsequent to the issuance of the dissolution decree. Although each case depends upon its own merits and unique facts, Minnesota’s statutory provisions and applicable rules of procedure do allow for a party to attempt to vacate or re-open a prior dissolution decree in limited circumstances.
Generally speaking, Minnesota Statute § 518.145 describes the bases upon which a dissolution decree may be vacated or re-opened. These bases include the following: (1) mistake, inadvertence, or excusable neglect; (2) newly discovered evidence which by due diligence could not have been discovered in time to move for a new trial; (3) fraud, misrepresentation, or other misconduct by an adverse party; (4) the judgment and decree or order is void; or (5) the judgment has been satisfied, released, or discharged, or a prior judgment and decree or order upon which it is based has been reversed or otherwise vacated, or it is no longer equitable that the judgment and decree or order should have prospective application.
Requests to vacate or re-open a dissolution decree should be made within a reasonable period of time. Importantly, if an individual seeks to vacate or re-open a dissolution decree based upon bases (1)-(3) listed above, the individual is typically required to submit an appropriate motion not more than one year after the issuance of the dissolution decree.
If an individual desires to vacate or re-open their dissolution decree, or if an individual’s ex-spouse alleges that their dissolution decree should be vacated or re-opened, it may be beneficial for the individual to seek the advice of legal counsel.