How does equitable property division work in Minnesota?

In Minnesota, marital property is divided equitably but there are several factors taken into consideration.

In Minnesota, marital property is divided through equitable division when a couple decides to divorce. The first step is to determine what property is classified as marital property. This is typically any item of monetary value that is acquired during the marriage. According to Forbes, marital property can include real estate, art, restricted stock, professional licenses, and retirement plans.

The Minnesota Judicial Branch states that real estate owned by either spouse must be reported. This includes property spouses may own with a relative or on their own. Real estate includes vacation property timeshares, vacation homes, rental property, investment property, inherited land or buildings, land without any buildings on it, condos or even a property that will be inherited by a spouse after a parent's death.

Valuation

Once all marital property has been identified, the second step is to have each item evaluated. Forbes reports that this is done through the establishment of a valuation date. The date may be the date of a couple's separation or a date chosen by the judge. Once the valuation date is chosen, all property will be assigned a value based on the market for that date.

Choosing the valuation date is important because it will have a large impact on the amount that each spouse will receive. The valuation cannot be readjusted on a house that rises in value after that debt or on a piece of art that loses value.

Dividing equitably

When the evaluation of the property is completed, the third step is to determine who will receive what property. The Office of the Revisor of Statutes for Minnesota states that certain factors will play a role in how the property is divided between the spouses. These factors include the following:

  • Occupation of each spouse
  • Length of the marriage
  • Vocation skills of each spouse
  • Health of each spouse
  • Sources of income and the amount of income
  • Prior marriages

Additionally, the court may look at the potential acquisition of income or assets that each spouse has. For example, if one spouse is a real estate investor and has the potential to acquire more properties and significantly increase the income level, the court may take that into consideration when determining what to give the other spouse. The state statute also points out that furniture and household goods could be given to either spouse and the method in which those items were attained does not have any effect on that distribution.

Whether couples have significant assets or a modest situation, spouses should seek the legal counsel of a family law attorney in Lakeville to make sure that they receive a fair division of property.