The court distinguishes property in a divorce proceeding in two categories: marital and non-marital property.
Under Minnesota law, any asset acquired after marriage and before the valuation date, by either party is considered marital property. This means that, during a divorce, the property acquired during this window of time will be presumed to belong to both spouses and the court will have the authority to divide it “justly and equitably.”
Note that the title of an asset is irrelevant. For example, if one spouse has a 401(k) plan, it does not matter that it is only in his or her name. The critical issue is whether the growth of the 401(k) plan occurred during the marriage.
In contrast, non-marital property refers to property acquired before the marriage, after the valuation date, or after the marriage is dissolved. In some circumstances, property acquired during the marriage can be non-marital if it fits into one of the following situations:
- Property that was a gift or inheritance for only one spouse from a third party
- Property acquired after the valuation date of the divorce proceeding; or
- Property excluded based on a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement
Non-marital property is generally not subject to division by the Court during a divorce proceeding. The burden of proving that the asset is non-marital is on the spouse who wants the court to find that asset to be non-marital and not subject to division. Therefore, if a spouse can establish that a given asset is non-marital, he or she would generally be awarded that asset without any financial contribution to the other spouse.
So, even though you might have a car (or a house) that is titled solely in your name, if you are married and getting divorced, a Minnesota court will assume that your house and car are also the property of your spouse, unless you can prove that one of the exceptions provided above applies. Even if one spouse has a non-marital claim, there are certain occasions where the Court does have the authority to invade 50% of the non-marital assets and to make an award to the other spouse from that non-marital property.
In some instances, an asset might be both marital and non-marital in nature. For example, you might have purchased the homestead before marriage; however, mortgage payments were also made during the marriage. This means that you have both a non-marital and marital interest in the homestead.
If you have questions about property division during a divorce in Minnesota, the attorneys of Clausen & Hassan can help. An experienced divorce attorney can fairly represent you in court. Please, contact our office today at (651) 647-0087 or on the web at firstname.lastname@example.org.