Under Minnesota law, there are two types of property associated with marriage.
“Marital Property” refers to almost all property that you and your spouse received or acquired during the marriage, even during the times you were separated, including real estate, cabins, rental property, household goods, automobiles, boats, jewelry, antiques and other items.
“Non-Marital Property” refers to: (1) anything that you or your spouse owned before the marriage; (2) a gift, bequest or inheritance made by a third party to one but not the other spouse; (3) anything that you or your spouse received in trade for your non-marital property; (4) any increase in the amount of non-marital property; (5) anything you or your spouse received after the valuation date set by the Court; (6) anything referred to as non-marital by a valid antenuptial agreement.
Property can be both marital and non-marital (for example: a retirement account, pension, house or cabin). If an asset is both marital and non-marital, it is sometimes necessary to perform a neutral financial analysis (also referred to as forensic tracing) in order to determine the marital portion and the non-marital portion of the asset. This type of tracing is typically performed by a CPA or Actuary in order to get the best possible financial result.
When a marriage is dissolved Minnesota courts will make a fair and equitable division of the marital property of the parties. Equitable does not necessarily mean equal. Many factors are used to determine what is fair and equitable including the length of the marriage, the income of the parties, the liabilities of the parties, the education of the parties and several other factors (including the opportunity for the future acquisition of capital assets).
An equitable division of property is the overriding statutory requirement in Minnesota. Equitable division can be something other than a 50:50 division of property. You are not necessarily entitled to exactly one-half of the marital estate, although this tends to be the default position of most Judges when the marriage meets the definition of a long-term marriage.
Some of the most frequently litigated disputes in divorce cases include the division of assets and debts, temporary and permanent spousal maintenance (alimony), child support and child custody, parenting time (visitation), retirement account (401k, 403b, etc.) and pension valuation, non-marital claims in assets and business-related issues related to income and valuation.
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