Dividing assets is one of the most important stages of any divorce. Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, and the courts will seek to establish an equitable division of assets. It is important to note that equitable does not mean even; rather it means the fairest division of assets between the divorcing couple.
Factors that Influence the Division of Assets
When dividing assets, Minnesota courts consider the duration of the marriage as well as the age, health, and occupation of each party. The court will also consider the contribution of each spouse in regard to the acquisition, maintenance, and usage of the marital property. This includes the contributions of a spouse as homemaker. It will consider the size of the estate, liabilities, needs and potential to acquire future assets.
The Difference Between Marital and Non-Marital Property
Marital property includes everything that the couple acquired after they were married, whereas non-marital property is everything that was acquired by each individual spouse prior to the marriage.
Non-marital property is not included in the calculations for the division of marital property. This helps shield retirement accounts, property, valuable collections, etc. from the calculation.
Non-marital property may also include judgments from lawsuits, inheritances, gifts, etc. It is common for these assets to be used towards mortgages and other liabilities. When this happens, the spouse who applied these towards marital property maintains their non-marital interest in the asset.
Assessing the Value of Marital Property
An accurate appraisal of marital assets is crucial for an equitable division. This can necessitate hiring an accountant to assess the current and future value of retirement accounts and business interests, a real estate appraiser to determine the value of real property and experts who can appraise and assign value to everything from art collections to jewelry.
Removing Sentimentality from the Equation
The courts do not factor in personal sentiments when it comes to the valuation of property, and sentiment isn’t worth a cent in the calculation. As such, a divorcing party should work closely with their family law attorney to ensure that the true value of each asset is accounted for and sought in the settlement. Divorcing couples should be willing to trade and barter assets and liabilities to reach a settlement that is fair and equitable to everyone involved. Remaining open to negotiation can reduce the expenses of divorce and expedite the divorce proceedings.