When a Minnesota couple gets divorced, they must divide up all the property they have accumulated during their marriage. Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, which means that a judge will look at all of the couple’s marital property and then try to divide it on an equitable basis. Equitable means what is fair and just under the circumstances, not necessarily an equal split. But how does Minnesota law define marital property for purposes of divorce?
Marital property generally refers to all property either spouse acquired during the marriage, except property acquired by gift or inheritance. It is distinguished from separate property, which is any property a spouse owned before the couple married, or any property acquired during the marriage through gift or inheritance. Separate property is not divided by the court; it remains the separate property of the spouse who owns it.
Any real property that a Minnesota couple has acquired during their marriage is subject to division. This includes the couple’s primary residence as well as any secondary homes they may own. Because it is not practicable to physically divide a house, the house is either sold and the proceeds divided between the spouses, or the house is awarded to one spouse and the other spouse is awarded other property of comparable value in the division.
Marital property can also include business assets such as ownership interests in partnerships, corporations and proprietorships. A Minnesota resident who is seeking a divorce may want to consult with an experienced divorce attorney in order to fully understand the potential consequences of property division.
Source: www.family.findlaw.com, “Checklist: dividing marital property“, Accessed June 28, 2015