In 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: real estate, retirement accounts, pensions, brokerage accounts or other investments). If an asset has both marital and non-marital components, it is usually 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. This analysis is most frequently performed by a CPA, Actuary, CDFA or Real Estate Appraiser with substantial experience in Divorce and Family Law matters.
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; you are not necessarily entitled to "half of your half." 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). Although an equitable division of property is the overriding statutory requirement in Minnesota, an equitable division can (and frequently is) something other than a 50:50 division of property.
Randall A. Smith is the founder and principal attorney of Lake Harriet Law Office and has practiced law since 1996. Mr. Smith earned his B.A. from Hamline University, his J.D. from Drake University and his M.B.A. from the University of St. Thomas. His practice is limited exclusively to Divorce and Family Law cases.
Lake Harriet Law Office represents clients in Minneapolis, Edina, Bloomington, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Eden Prairie, Southwest Minneapolis, Linden Hills, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, St. Paul, Wright County, Anoka County and Scott County.
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