As referenced in our other article, according to Minn. Stat. §518.58, Minnesota Courts are supposed to make a “just and equitable division of the marital property without regard to marital misconduct.” In such circumstances, practically speaking, the Court’s typical starting point is that each party should be awarded 50% of the marital estate. However, it is important to keep in mind that the law calls for a “just and equitable division of the marital property.” This might mean an equal division; it might not. In some instances, a spouse may claim that during the marriage, he or she did more than the other spouse and that the other spouse was “absent” in building net worth of the parties, etc. In such a case, it is important to note that contribution is not measured exclusively in financial terms.
For example, a homemaker spouse who contributes by sacrificing his or her career to provide care for the minor children is considered equally as valuable as the other spouse who provided financially for the family. At the same time, it is important to recognize that the statute also contemplates the contributions of each spouse 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.”
Therefore, as an example, if a spouse gambles away $50,000 of marital property without the approval, consent, or knowledge of the other spouse, a strong argument can be made that a just and equitable division of marital property should not mean an equal division, as the spouse who gambled away the property clearly depreciated marital property. The property division statute in Minnesota provides for the consideration of the following factors:
- Length of the marriage;
- Any prior marriage of a party;
- The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income;
- Vocational skills;
- Opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets; and
- Income of each party.
If you have any questions about property division, ask our attorneys to review the specifics of your situation. Click below to request a confidential consultation, or call 651-647-0087.