Marital Versus Non-Marital Property Under Minnesota Law

Simply put, non-marital property is anything that isn’t marital property. Given this seemingly basic definition, people are often surprised at what will be considered marital property in a divorce or legal separation proceeding. 

If there isn’t an exception that allows you to exclude an item of property from the dissolution proceedings, it’ll be treated as marital property and therefore subject to division by the court.

Common Exceptions to Marital Property

There’s a timeline associated with marital property. One of the most common reasons for property to be deemed non-marital property is that it was acquired outside of this timeline. Whether the item is real estate or a personal possession, if it was acquired by either spouse before the marriage, or after the “valuation date,” it may be considered non-marital property. 

Identifying the “valuation date” is occasionally an issue. Ideally, the parties to the divorce will agree upon a particular date. If they don’t agree, the date will typically be determined when the first prehearing settlement conference is held. 

These prehearings are required under Minnesota law, so they can be used to establish a firm line that separates marital property from non-marital property. It’s important to keep in mind that property can still be marital property long after you and your spouse stop living together or sharing bank accounts.

Property Given to One Spouse, But Not the Other

Another exception to marital property applies to anything a spouse receives as a gift, bequest, devise or inheritance from a third-party. If the property is given to only one spouse, and not the couple, it can be considered separate property.

Contractually Separate Property

Inside a marriage, it’s possible to divide property into marital and non-marital categories by agreement. Antenuptial (postnuptial) agreements can be used to exempt property that might otherwise be considered marital property. 

For these contracts to be valid, there must be full and fair disclosure of the earnings and property of each party, and the parties must have had an opportunity to consult with legal counsel of their own choice. Having separate legal counsel for each spouse is vital. 

In addition, these contracts are presumed to be unenforceable if they were signed within two years of the start of divorce or legal separation proceedings. 

Exchanges and Changes in Value

There is one final category of non-marital property. If you exchange non-marital property for something new, that new property will also qualify as non-marital property. If your non-marital property grows in value over time, the increased value is also non-marital.

Do You Have Questions About Property Division? Call Our Skilled Divorce Attorneys Today

Property division is an important part of many divorces. Proper division of assets can make a big difference in your future, so it’s worth fighting for. If you have questions about how assets will be divided, contact White & Associates online or call our Elk River Divorce Lawyers at 763-241-0477.


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