Division of Marital Property, Debt and Non-Marital Property – Is it Mine, Yours or Ours?

October 29, 2014  |  Elizabeth A. Schading

The division of marital property can be one of the most complicated aspects of a divorce in Minnesota. For each and every asset or property, there is always a question of whether it belongs to you, your spouse, or both of you. In the state of Minnesota, the property in a marriage will be marital, unless proven to be non-marital. Debt will also be divided equally between you and your spouse, but the reason the debt was incurred will be considered.

What is Considered Marital Property?

If you and your spouse are like most married couples, you’ve probably accumulated quite a bit over the years. The car you purchased, those nice wine glasses in your cabinet or even the Family Law Attorneys family boat may all be considered marital property. However, marital property extends beyond just tangible items; it can also include pension plan benefits, stocks and land.
Any items that were purchased or were given while you were married will be presumed to be marital property. Oftentimes, courts will make an equal division of the property, although this is not always the case.

What Happens to Debt?

Just like property, debt can also be considered non-marital. Whether or not the debt is considered non-marital will depend on:

  • When it was borrowed
  • Who borrowed the money
  • Whether or not the money was used for marital or non-marital purposes

In most cases, only marital debt will affect the total value of your marital estate.

What is Considered Non-Marital Property?

In every marriage, there are always some items that one spouse considers to be theirs and theirs alone. If, for example, you used your inheritance to purchase a piece of land, you probably wouldn’t want it to be factored into the marital estate. Gifts and inheritances may fall into the non-marital property category. Usually, non-marital property will not be awarded to the other spouse during divorce proceedings.
The biggest issue with non-marital property is that the burden falls on the spouse and his or her attorney to prove that the property is his or her own. Tracing can help prove this. Using the example above, you could trace the purchase of the land back to non-marital money. Your attorney can help you determine the best way to prove that certain items are non-marital.

Have Questions? Contact Us

It’s not easy trying to interpret Minnesota Family Laws, particularly when trying to determine division of assets in a divorce. If you would like assistance from the Barna, Guzy and Steffen family law attorneys, contact our office today and make an appointment to consult with one of our experienced divorce and family lawyers!