How Does Property Get Divided In Divorce?
Minnesota is considered an equitable distribution property state. This is the most common way to divide marital property in a divorce. Equitable distribution means the court divides marital property between spouses in a way that it deems fair—or equitable, not necessarily equal or 50/50.
It also doesn’t matter who is “at fault” for the divorce since Minnesota is also a no-fault divorce state. Instead, the courts take several factors into account as they determine how to divide up the marital property, including:
- Length of the marriage
- Prior marriages
- Contribution of each spouse to the value or depreciation of the marital property
- Contribution of a homemaker
- Employability of each spouse
- Financial needs of each spouse
Two Types of Property in Minnesota: Real Property and Personal Property
Property Division in a Minnesota Divorce considers real property as Real Estate. It involves land and structures that are attached to the ground, whether residential or commercial.
Personal property is the other things of value you own: Bank accounts, cars, investments, jewelry, antiques, furniture, etc.
Two types of Property in a Divorce: Marital and Non-Marital
Property that spouses acquired separately before getting married is considered non-marital property. It belongs to them independently of the marriage, and therefore, the court doesn’t need to divide it.
Marital property is all of the stuff that the couple acquired during their marriage. If you have a strong reason why something you received during your marriage isn’t marital property (such as an inheritance), you must prove this to the court by a preponderance of the evidence.
What About Gifts or Inheritances?
Often an individual will receive a gift or inheritance. Even if it is received within the marriage, it is considered non-marital property. What if they use it to pay off a mortgage (marital property)? They can still retain their right to that portion of the asset by using tracing. By providing bank statements, canceled checks, and other types of proof that you used your gift towards a marital purchase, you can claim it in the divorce.
Out of Court Settlements
If you and your spouse can agree about how you wish to divide your property and your debts, it is best to settle out of the courts. This gives you the most control over the outcome. This control will help you heal from the divorce more easily. If the agreement is a fair one, the courts will likely approve it.
Your Largest Assets
Your retirement account is your largest asset, second only to real estate. Any portion of it that was earned during your marriage is also considered marital property.
Any portion of your real estate that you paid into during your marriage will be divided as marital property, as well. There are several ways this can be done, depending on your situation.
- If you have multiple homes, you may each take a home. You have likely separated already if that is the case.
- If you have one home and children, the parent with primary custody of the children will likely get to stay in the house.
- Another option is to order that you sell the home and divide the proceeds.
Dividing Property in a Divorce is Complicated
It’s important to have seasoned attorneys on your side every step of the way. White & Associates will be there for you during this difficult time and ensure you have a fair divorce settlement. Contact us today!