Property Division Attorney in Shakopee, Minnesota Including Scott County, Carver County and Dakota County
As part of a divorce, you will need to go through the difficult process dividing the property acquired before and during the marriage. The first step involves a determination of what is “marital” and what is “non-marital.” Mr. Peterson is a Minneapolis divorce attorney that can help walk you through this sometimes difficult process.
“Marital property” means property acquired by the parties during the existence of the marital relationship. All property acquired by either spouse during the marriage 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 property.
The presumption of marital property is overcome by a showing that the property is non-marital property. “Non-marital property” involves property acquired by either spouse before, during, or after the existence of their marriage, which:
- Is acquired as a gift, bequest, devise or inheritance made by a third party to one but not to the other spouse;
- Is acquired before the marriage;
- Is acquired by a spouse after the valuation date; or
- Is excluded by a valid prenuptial agreement.
The burden in proving a non-marital interest is on the party making the claim.
Interests Both Marital and Non-Marital
In some cases, an asset (or debt) may have both a marital and a non-marital component. Common examples include real estate, retirement plans and student loans. When the need arises, a “tracing” of of the non-marital interests may occur.
“Equitable” Distribution of Marital Property
Marital property is divided equitably – almost always equally. The same is true of debts incurred during the marriage, despite the fact that one party may have incurred more debt than the other. In limited circumstances, the Court may also divide non-marital property.
If an unequal distribution is contemplated by the court, the factors utilized in the decision include:
- The length of the marriage;
- Any prior marriage of a party;
- The age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, needs, opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets, and income of each party;
- The contribution of each in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property; and
- The contribution of a spouse as a homemaker.
Property is rarely divided physically. Rather, an asset is valued by an appraiser and each party receives a portion of the value. This may involve trading one piece of property for another, selling the property and dividing the proceeds or one spouse paying the other a cash settlement in exchange for their interest.