Minnesota is a “no fault” divorce state, which means courts will not financially punish or reward a party when dividing assets and debts because of bad behavior during the marriage. Generally speaking, the courts will equitably divide the marital assets and liabilities between the parties. That means spouses need to understand what is marital property.
Disputes arise over whether an asset is “marital property,” and therefore subject to division, or “non-marital property,” in which case one party is entitled to the asset without consideration to the other party. The general definition is that anything acquired during the marriage is marital and anything owned or acquired prior to the marriage is non-marital. However, there are many exceptions to this general rule.
All assets and debts are presumed to be marital property and subject to division, unless the party asserting a non-marital claim is able to prove otherwise. The party must be able to “trace” the asset to it’s non-marital source, usually through a paper trail of receipts, invoices, deposit slips, bank or investment statements or other documentary evidence. The matter becomes further complicated, because some assets such as real estate, retirement accounts and investments, can be partially marital property, and non-marital at the same time.
At Swenson Lervick, we have been helping couples work through the complications of divorce for over fifty years. If you are faced with divorce or legal separation, please contact attorneys Derek Trosvig or Heidi Schultz for help.