Minnesota courts will seek a just and equitable distribution of marital property in divorce. However, this does not mean that assets will be divided fifty-fifty. Financial hardship and other factors can affect marital asset distribution.

At the Meinerts Law Office, P.A. in Burnsville, Minnesota, we will guide you through the process of identifying, valuing and dividing marital assets and liabilities. We will also help you protect your nonmarital property.

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Marital and Nonmarital Property in Minnesota

The first step in property division is determining what is marital property and what is nonmarital property.

Nonmarital property is property owned prior to the marriage or received during the marriage by gift or inheritance. To maintain the status of a nonmarital asset, you must be able to trace the asset from the date of its receipt to the current day. Nonmarital assets are yours to keep, although judges can make an exception in cases of undue hardship.

Marital property is all property accumulated during the marriage other than gifts or inheritances. It includes retirement plans, 401(k) accounts, houses, stocks, businesses, bank accounts, stamp collections and other assets. Valuation thereof may require the use of experts. A house can be valued by a real estate agent or a professional appraiser. A business will be valued by a business valuation expert. A valuation date is selected for property such as 401(k) plans and stock portfolios.

Once the value of marital property is established, the final chore is to allocate the assets and create a balance sheet between the parties. The parties can trade one asset for another, such as the home for a 401(k) account. All trades need to consider the tax implications. Sometimes, an exchange of cash is needed to equalize property division.

For some assets, such as a homestead your child will live in, property division can be deferred to a later time. A marital lien can be used to preserve the other party’s interest in the property, to be paid at an agreed-upon date in the future.

Learn more about Property Division in Minnesota