The court distinguishes between property in a divorce proceeding in two categories: marital and non-marital property.

Under Minnesota marital property laws, any asset acquired after marriage and before the valuation date by either party is considered marital property. This means that during a divorce the property acquired during this window of time will be presumed to belong to both spouses, and the court will have the authority to divide it “justly and equitably.”

Note that the title of an asset is irrelevant. If one spouse has a 401(k) plan, it does not matter that it is only in his or her name. The critical issue is whether the growth of the 401(k) plan occurred during the marriage.

In contrast, non-marital property refers to property acquired before the marriage, after the valuation date, or after the marriage is dissolved.

In some circumstances, property acquired during the marriage can be non-marital if it fits into one of the following situations:

● Property that was a gift or inheritance for only one spouse from a third party

● Property acquired after the valuation date of the divorce proceeding

● Property excluded based on a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement

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What Happens to Non-Marital Property?

Non-marital property is generally not subject to division by the Court during a divorce proceeding. The burden of proving that the asset is non-marital is on the spouse who wants the court to find that asset to be non-marital and not subject to division. Therefore, if a spouse can establish that a given asset is non-marital, he or she will generally be awarded that asset without any financial contribution to the other spouse.

Even though you might have a car (or a house) that is titled solely in your name, if you are married and getting divorced in Minnesota, the court will likely assume that your house and car are also the property of your spouse –unless you can prove that one of the exceptions provided above applies.

Even if one spouse has a non-marital claim, there are many occasions where the Court does have the authority to invade 50% of the non-marital assets and to make an award to the other spouse from this non-marital property.

In some instances, an asset might be both marital and non-marital in nature. For example, you might have purchased a home before marriage; however, mortgage payments were also made during the marriage. This means that you have both a non-marital and marital interest in the property.

Marital Property FAQs

When you and your spouse agree on your marital property split it can be easy to complete the steps needed to settle things in the Minnesota court. Unfortunately, an amicable split is not always how things work out, especially when child support and other expenses are on the line.

During the division of marital assets, you may also be concerned about facing unfair hardship, especially if you lack vocational skills.

When you have questions about marital property laws and your marital assets, you may need to take action now, before you divide assets, to ensure equitable division. If you need guidance about your marital estate, reach out for guidance from an attorney. 

Here are some common questions about martial property in Minnesota.

What is a wife entitled to in a divorce in MN?

Minnesota law requires the equitable distribution method be used during divorce proceedings. However, this does not mean your wife or husband is entitled to exactly half of your assets. Future acquisitions, any non marital asset or non-marital money, or other assets acquired before the marriage may not be considered. Talk to your lawyer about assets that might be able to be protected during a divorce.

Is a house purchased before marriage marital property in Minnesota?

When facing divorce, one of your biggest concerns may be assets acquired before the marriage or even other assets from a prior marriage.

In Minnesota, nonmarital property includes anything you or your spouse acquired as separate property. If you received the house during a previous marriage or through an inheritance, for example, talk to a lawyer about your opportunities to protect your marital assets fairly.

Is Minnesota a 50-50 state for divorce?

In a 50-50 state for divorce, your assets are divided as fairly and equitably as possible, according to a judge’s discretion. That means bank accounts, retirement accounts, retirement interests, and other assets gained during the marriage will be split as fairly as possible.

Separate property states like Minnesota consider only property gained within the marriage, including debts. For example, if your spouse had severe gambling debt before your marriage, and you choose to divorce, you may not share those debts or tax liens when you divorce.

Is my spouse entitled to my inheritance in Minnesota?

While Minnesota is not a community property states, you may be worried about dividing property that belongs to only one spouse. Fortunately, your inheritance may be safer than you think.

While certain properties, like marital debts, are shared between spouses, debts and assets that were yours prior to marriage are not shared. That means that while your marital money may be impacted, gifts and inheritance may not be.

How do I protect myself in the division of assets in a Minnesota divorce?

When contemplating the division of assets during a divorce, you may be concerned about protecting the most valuable assets to you and minimizing the impact of debts, losses, or spousal maintenance related to the other party.

An experienced family law attorney can help you in calculating the fairest split for your assets to protect yourself during this time.

Marital property division is especially important for business owners, for which their business often makes up a large portion of their assets, and where capital assets, which means property that is tangible and can impact your revenue, are illiquid.

When your business is part of divorce proceedings, speak with a lawyer about how these assets may impact your case.

Get Help Preparing for Minnesota Marital Property Laws

When your personal property is on the line, it’s understandable to be worried about what’s counted as community property during your divorce. You deserve a just and equitable division of assets – and the courts strive for this – but property laws can leave you struggling to protect real and personal property obtained during a marriage.

Contact a Minnesota family law attorney like the team at Alithis if you’re worried. Our team can help you navigate real property matters during a divorce, with the experience to help you understand your options during a divorce and the know-how to reach a favorable outcome when meaningful assets are on the line.