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Share and share alike in divorce -- or not so much?

The whole, "What's mine is yours" mindset often vanishes soon after one spouse serves the other with divorce papers. No matter which end of the filing process you are on, divorce can be a real game-changer when it comes to sharing property and assets. Where once you may not have cared at all if your spouse withdrew money from a joint account to purchase a luxury item or provide a loan to a friend, you may vehemently oppose now if you're in the process of divorce.

Nine states in the nation automatically assume that a married couple jointly owns all marital assets in a divorce. If you lived in one of these states, you might not have much say as to whether your spouse should retain ownership of your vacation home, family vehicle, or even your house, for that matter. However, as a Minnesota resident, community property laws do not govern your divorce.

Equitable division takes precedence here

In this state (and most others), a judge will determine how to fairly divide all marital assets between you and your spouse when you divorce. The key factor is that while division of property will be fair, it may not be equal. Keeping the following in mind when heading to court may be helpful:

  • A judge may determine a need to sell your home, vacation property or another asset in order to divide the monies earned from the sale fairly between you and your spouse.
  • The judge has the final say in all matters of martial property division in divorce.
  • If you have an existing prenuptial agreement that specifies a particular asset as separately owned, it won't be subject to division in divorce.
  • Equitable division laws vary from state to state. State laws are also subject to change.
  • Certain property acquired before marriage may become marital property later, such as a business you began before your wedding day but maintained through jointly owned resources during marriage.

You may feel anxious and worried regarding property division issues in divorce. This is not uncommon, especially where high net worth assets are concerned. It's understandable you'd want to protect your rights and hold on to what is rightfully yours even though you've decided to part ways with your spouse and move on to a new lifestyle.

You may be able to settle property division disagreements through skilled negotiation without ever having to step foot inside a courtroom. If your particular situation is a bit more acrimonious, you may want to seek support by allowing an experienced family law advocate to act on your behalf, especially if litigation is necessary.

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