Getting To Know Your Assets

Often an important piece of any divorce or dissolution is the division of assets or property. But you may be wondering, what exactly is my property?

There are two categories of property in Minnesota Marital Dissolution Law- marital and non-marital.

What is Marital?

This means property, real or personal, including vested public or private pension plan benefits or rights, acquired by the parties, or either of the parties, to a dissolution at any time during the existence of the marriage between them. All property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage and before the valuation date is presumed to be marital property regardless of whether title is held individually or by the spouses in a form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety, or community.

What is Non-Marital?

This means real or personal property acquired by either spouse before, during, or after their marriage, which falls under one or more of the following categories.

1. It is acquired as a gift, bequest, devise or inheritance made by a third party to one of the spouses but not the other.

2. It is acquired before the marriage;

3. It is acquired in exchange for or is the increase in value of property which is described in 1, 2, 4 or 5

4. It is acquired by a spouse after the valuation date;

5. It is excluded by a valid antenuptial contract.

6. Depending on how property is categorized determines how the court may divide it up.

How do these assets get divided?

If property is marital it is to be divided “equitably”. If property is non-marital, it is usually awarded to the owner and is generally not considered in the overall property division. An exception to this general rule is that non-marital property may be awarded to the other spouse if it would cause “unfair hardship” not to do so.