Basics of Property Division in a Divorce - Minnesota

February 4, 2012 - by Eric Anderson

Upon proceeding through a divorce, people naturally must divide their property in some manner.  Minnesota law does not require that the property be divided 50/50.  Instead, Minnesota law requires that marital property must be divided "equitably" without regard to marital misconduct.  This means that the court will consider all the relevant circumstances and make a fair (not necessarily equal) division of the marital property.  The court will also allocate marital debts of the parties.  Minn. Stat. Section 518.58 lists many of the relevant factors, for example:

It's presumed that each spouse made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while they were living together as husband and wife.  For the purposes of division, property is valued as of the date of the initially scheduled pre-hearing settlement conference, unless the parties agree on a different valuation date.

There are two types of property at issue in a divorce proceeding:  (1) Marital Property; and (2) Non-Marital Property.

"Equitable division" only applies to marital property.  Marital property is basically everything that the parties own that was acquired or received during the marriage, including money, real estate, retirement benefits, vehicles, household goods, jewelry, and other personal property.  Property acquired during the marriage is presumed to be marital property.

Non-Marital Property is property that fits into one of several categories:  (1) things you owned before your marriage; (2) gifts, inheritance, bequests made by a third party to you and not your spouse; (3) things you got in exchange for your other non-marital property; (4) appreciated value in your non-marital property; (5) things you receive after the aforementioned valuation date; and (6) things designated as non-marital property in a valid pre-nuptial contract.  Property can have both marital and non-marital portions.  Non-Marital property is generally awarded to its owner and is not considered in the overall equitable property division - unless it would create an unfair hardship on the other spouse.  

Disclaimer: No case or client-specific information shall be discussed on this website. The content provided is informational only and should not be construed as legal advice. If you have questions about divorce or custody in Minnesota , please seek the advice of an attorney.