Many people may think that Courts award marital property to parties 50/50 in the State of Minnesota; however, that is not necessarily true. Although many attorneys and Courts may start from a position of dividing property in that fashion, oftentimes such an award may not be a just and equitable way to do so. Specifically, the Statue states that:
“…the court shall make a just and equitable division of the marital property of the parties without regard to marital misconduct, after making findings regarding the division of the property. The court shall base its findings on all relevant factors including the length of the marriage, any prior marriage of a party, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, needs, opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets, and income of each party. The court shall also consider the contribution of each in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker. It shall be conclusively presumed that each spouse made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while they were living together as husband and wife.” —Minn. Stat. § 518.58 sub.1.
As can be seen by this Statute, Minnesota does not consider fault of a party in dividing marital property. That is, how a party conducts him/herself during a Marriage will not typically impact his/her share of the marital property. It can certainly be argued in some cases that a spouse has caused marital waste in some way (e.g. gambling away assets, chemical dependency issues that eat up a large portion of the marital estate, etc.). However, in most divorce cases, Courts do start from a 50/50 analysis.
This can certainly change if an argument can be made that one spouse needs more of the marital assets for their future needs and the other spouse has the ability to make-up for the loss of assets. For instance, if one spouse has been a homemaker throughout the marriage, and the other spouse has been a significant breadwinner, it is possible that the Court could consider a division of property other than 50/50, awarding the homemaker more than 50%. Such a division may be considered both just and equitable.
It is important that you meet with an attorney to discuss how the attorney would view how your marital estate could be divided by the Court.
At Clausen & Hassan, LLC, we offer free consultations to answer any questions or speak with you about possible ways the Court could divide your marital estate. You can call us at 651-647-0087 for more information or reach out via our online contact form.