If you are currently pursuing a divorce in Minnesota, you’re probably worried about your financial future. Spousal maintenance is a huge concern, of course, but property division also threatens to harm your financial status. Who gets the house? How will you divide retirement assets? Read on to learn more about property division proceedings in the state of Minnesota:

What Is Marital Property? How Is It Divided?

Minnesota courts refer to all assets acquired (by either party) while married as marital property. This is in accordance with the presiding philosophy that marriage serves as full partnership—and that a homemaker’s contributions hold value.

Factors influencing marital property in Minnesota include:

  • How long the spouses were married
  • Whether the spouses were previously married
  • The income (both the amount and sources) of each spouse
  • Contributions as homemaker
  • Contributions to marital property

Spouses can influence property division outcomes by seeking valuation services or providing documentation of their non-financial contributions to the relationship (such as caring for children).

What Is Non-Marital Property?

Non-marital property includes that acquired through the owner’s efforts before marriage, and anything given as a gift prior to the union. Inheritances from third parties that occurred prior to marriage also qualify as non-marital property. Although non-marital property is typically not divided between spouses in divorce, it could be impacted if it was commingled while the partners were married. Occasionally, spouses are able to designate property gained while married as non-marital, but this requires a preponderance of evidence.

What Is Commingling?

Non-marital property may not be deemed as such if it is commingled. For example, if a non-marital inheritance was deposited in a joint bank account, it could become difficult to trace, making it less likely to remain separated from equitably distributed property.

Dividing Property Through Mediation or Collaboration

Some couples prefer to reach financial arrangements through alternative dispute resolution. This approach sometimes allows divorcing spouses to arrive at creative solutions, which may also draw in spousal maintenance proceedings. For example: one spouse may agree to forgo future maintenance payments so as to secure real estate ownership.

Property division can be one of the most frustrating aspects of divorce in Minnesota. Seek a favorable outcome with assistance from the Brown Law Offices, P.A.

Divorce law varies by state, and each state has its own idiosyncrasies. If you’re preparing to file for a Minnesota divorce, you may be surprised to learn about the follow peculiarities of our laws:

  1. It Doesn’t Matter Who Is “At Fault” for Your Divorce.

Minnesota follows a no-fault system when it comes to divorce. That means addiction, affairs, and abuse are not grounds for divorce; a spouse need only show an “irretrievable breakdown” of the marriage. The courts aren’t interested in your spouse’s misconduct when it comes to property division or awarding spousal maintenance, but bad behavior may affect custody and visitation arrangements. This also means that the person initiating the divorce does not automatically have an upper hand.

  1. Are You a New Minnesota Resident? You May Not Be Able to Get Divorced Here.

Have you moved in Minnesota within the past six months? If so, the courts will reject your divorce petition. If this applies to you, you have two options: wait the six months and file again, or file in your previous home state.

  1. Calculating Spousal Maintenance Can Get Complex.

In some states, only the unemployed may receive spousal maintenance from their partners. In Minnesota, however, the courts determine alimony differently. A holistic approach looks at the length of the marriage, the current standard of living, and each partner’s ability to pay.

  1. Just Because an Asset is Titled in Your Named Doesn’t Mean You’ll Automatically Get It.

For example, Dave purchased a truck four years after he and Janet tied the knot. Although the truck is technically titled in his name, since he purchased it during the marriage, Minnesota law considers it marital property. This rule also generally applies to pensions, debt, and retirement accounts.

Divorce can be a trying time, and it’s best to approach the system proactively. An experienced Minnesota divorce attorney can help you navigate the process while protecting your best interests. Contact the skillful attorneys at Brown Law Offices for a strategic review of your legal options: 763-323-6555.

Just as finances can be a major source of contention in a marriage, they can be even more so during a divorce. Disentangling your ex-spouse’s finances from your own may be no simple task, especially with shared assets like home and vehicles, or with shared debts. This process can be even more complicated with an uncooperative ex, or one who happens to be fiscally irresponsible.

You might be tempted to avoid or procrastinate the task of financial disentanglement, but resist this temptation to protect both your assets and your credit. Some of the details of dividing larger assets will obviously be worked out during the divorce settlement negotiations, but for now, here are some steps you can take now to begin disentangling your ex-spouse’s finances from your own.

Set up your own bank accounts

If you haven’t done so already, open up a basic checking and savings account in your own name, and start paying bills and depositing paychecks into that account. If you still hold joint bank accounts with your ex, close these accounts as soon as possible, but do not attempt to withdraw funds without talking to your divorce attorney first, as these funds may be restricted until a divorce settlement is reached. When it comes to your own income, however, you should gain sole control of these funds as quickly as possible.

Separating credit card accounts

For any revolving credit card accounts you share with your ex, take these steps now to begin the disentanglement process:

•    Close any joint credit cards you have with your ex-spouse as soon as possible. This protects you from being held responsible if your ex decides to go on a shopping spree.

•    De-authorize your ex on any credit cards for which you are the primary cardholder.

•    Disentangle from joint cards with existing balances by opening up new cards separately and performing balance transfers. You and your ex will need to agree to how much of the debt each of you should pay, but once that’s decided, transferring those balances to your own individual credit cards will start the process of separating your shared credit history—plus, you won’t have the added worry of making sure the joint cards are being paid on time.

For larger assets like homes, cars and shared business interests, disentangling your finances will be a more complex matter reserved for the divorce settlement negotiations. But taking steps now to separate finances on a smaller scale can help you get a head start on financial stability as a single person.