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Alimony and same-sex divorce in Minnesota

Minnesotans are accustomed to hearing news about the market ups and downs of the Richfield-based electronics retail giant Best Buy. Less common are news items about the personal life of Best Buy's chief executive officer. That's exactly what Minnesotans got, however, after the company complied with federal regulations to show that the CEO had sold $10.4 million worth of shares in the company. The reason he gave was that he needed the cash for his divorce.

This may seem like an extravagant amount of money for a divorce settlement, but then a high net worth divorce has complications that make it different from other divorces - and not just because there's so much more money involved.

In every Minnesota divorce, the parties must divide their personal property from the marital property and then come up with an equitable division of the marital property. That's easier said than done, even when splitting the marital property is relatively straightforward. For those with complex assets such as retirement accounts, stock options and ownership stakes in businesses, however, this process of property division can get very complicated.

For example, the Best Buy executive had stock options from which were not supposed to be sold for two years. He had to get permission from the board before he could sell the stock. A

lso, stock can vary widely in value. The month before the company's announcement of the $10.4 million sale, its stock reached its highest point in a year. One can assume that the fact the two factors did not coincide by accident.

Few Minnesotans can boast anything like $10 million to fight over in their divorce, but all divorces have their complexities and difficulties. It's important for Minnesotans going through a divorce to get help from professionals who understand how the property division process can work for their unique set of circumstances.

Source: Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal, "Best Buy CEO's divorce prompts stock sale worth $10.4 million," Mark Reilly, Sept. 11, 2013

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