Under Minnesota divorce law, any asset acquired after marriage by either party is considered marital property. The Court has the authority to divide this marital property “fairly and equitably.” In this context, the title of an asset (homestead, pension plan, retirement account, retirement benefit, land, etc) is not relevant. Rather, the issue is whether the asset was acquired during the marriage. If the asset was acquired during the marriage by either party, regardless of the title under which that asset is or was held, the Court regards it as marital property. There is a presumption under Minnesota law that any property acquired during marriage is marital property.
If a party claims that an asset is not marital, he or she has the burden of proving its non-marital interest.
Although Courts have the authority to divide marital property “fairly and equitably,” the final analysis depends upon the specific circumstances of the case. A fair and equitable division may be an award of fifty-percent (50%) each or it may be an award of something other than a fifty-percent (50%) division. Therefore, it is very important to analyze the specific facts and circumstances of each case. For example, if a spouse gambled away $100,000 during the marriage and the other spouse was not aware of this fact, the Court may use its equitable powers and apportion the remaining marital property in a manner that would account for the marital waste of $100,000.
Once a property division is ordered by the Court, it is final. The Court does not have the authority to re-open a property division unless some very specific elements are proved (example, fraud, etc.).
If your case involves significant marital assets, you should always contact a Minnesota property division attorney for specific advice.