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What is marital property in a Minnesota divorce?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Divorce

Those who are considering divorce in Minnesota often worry quite intensely about how ending a marriage could affect them financially. People know that divorce tends to be expensive. They also recognize that the law requires them to share their assets with their spouses when they divorce.

Only those with marital agreements are able to easily predict the outcome of property division proceedings. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements often name certain assets as separate property and provide guidelines for dividing any other major assets. Without such agreements, negotiations or state law determine how spouses divide their property and debts. Most couples have many days of intense negotiations ahead or may need to have a judge rule on property division matters. In Minnesota, the state requires that judges equitably or fairly divide marital property in litigated divorce scenarios.

Assets acquired during marriage are marital property

As a general rule, the courts look at any resources or financial obligations that originate during the marriage as part of the marital estate. The income of both spouses and any property acquired with that income is likely part of the marital estate. Debts can also be an important part of the marital estate. Financial responsibilities assumed during the marriage are usually subject to division when the spouses divorce.

Separate property that people do not have to divide typically consists of what they owned prior to marriage, what they acquired after the valuation date established as part of their divorce and any inheritance or gifts they received during the marriage. In some cases, gifts and inheritances can be at risk of division if any commingling occurred. Commingling involves depositing separate property into shared financial accounts or giving the other spouse an ownership interest in or control over that property.

Resources ranging from the marital home and investment real estate to furniture and vehicles could be part of the marital estate. Debts including student loans and credit cards could also be marital responsibilities. Typically, the courts look at the date of acquisition, rather than the name on an account or ownership paperwork, when deciding what spouses must divide.

Determining what assets are part of the marital estate is important for anyone preparing for divorce in Minnesota. Those who understand equitable distribution rules can push for a reasonable division of marital property when they divorce.