Property Division In Divorce Raises Many Questions

One of the most contentious areas of divorce proceedings can be the division of assets. Minnesota requires that the law of equitable division be applied when dividing property in divorce. Two Rivers Law P.A. in Otsego has answers. Here are some of the property division questions we hear most often.

Property Division FAQs

What Is Equitable Division?

Equitable division is used in Minnesota divorce proceedings to determine what portion and assets each party to the marriage will receive. It's important to note that equitable does not mean equal. Often dividing assets becomes a negotiation or trade-off where each side gives and takes in order to come to an equitable or fair agreement for dividing the assets of the marriage. For example, one spouse may give up their right to seeking spousal maintenance in order to keep a retirement account. Negotiation is definitely involved. So it's important to have an experienced attorney who can negotiate these issues to your advantage and look out for your interests.

What Is Marital Property?

The law presumes that any asset acquired after the couple is married (and any debts as well) are "marital," meaning owned by both spouses equally, regardless of who may have purchased the asset or who is listed on the title. Some assets, particularly those acquired prior to the marriage, are "non-marital," meaning they belong solely to one spouse. The party claiming an asset is non-marital has the burden of proving it.

Can I Keep My Wedding Ring?

Yes, you may keep your wedding ring. This is considered a gift and is not factored in to any asset valuation or division.

What If I Receive An Inheritance?

An inheritance is generally considered a non-marital asset belonging to the person who inherited it. It's a good idea to keep monetary assets like this separate from other joint savings and checking accounts that you and your spouse share. This helps that money appear separate from other assets.

What Will Happen To My Retirement Accounts?

If you and your spouse contributed to IRAs, 401(k)s or other retirement accounts during the marriage, those accounts will be assets subject to division. Accounts that were built up separately and prior to the marriage may not be considered marital assets.

What If I Suspect My Spouse Is Hiding Assets?

As part of our service, we are thorough in finding assets and review all bank accounts so all assets will be considered in property division. We have a network of resources and often refer business valuations out to people trained in that field. This means you will have a team working to make sure you will be treated equitably during the asset division portion of your divorce.

How Do Marital Liens Work?

Sometimes it makes sense for one spouse to keep the house, but that spouse cannot afford to refinance the mortgage or pay the other spouse for his or her share of the equity. In such cases, the parties sometimes agree the spouse leaving the house will retain a "marital lien" against the house to be paid upon sale of the house or at some specified time in the future, such as when the youngest child graduates high school. Such agreements must be carefully drafted and must plan for many contingencies, so it is important to hire a divorce lawyer who has experience in handling these circumstances.

Contact Experienced Divorce Representation

For experienced legal advice during your divorce, call Minnesota attorney David Cox at 763-575-7911. He has assisted clients for more than 10 years. He can work to protect your interests during divorce proceedings and asset distribution. You can also reach him by email.

Two Rivers Law P.A. offers a free initial consultation to discuss your legal issues. We assist people in Otsego, Elk River and also in the northwest suburbs of the Twin Cities.