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Equitable property division is not always equal

On Behalf of | Apr 11, 2024 | property division |

In a Minnesota divorce proceeding, each party must fully disclose all assets and debts. With some exceptions, marital property consists of any assets acquired during marriage. State law requires an equitable property division in divorce, but equitable does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split.  

In the nine states that operate under community property division rules marital property is split equally between spouses in a divorce. Equitable division, on the other hand, simply means that the division of assets (and liabilities) must be fair, although not necessarily equal. A concerned spouse will want to learn as much as possible about equitable property rules to ensure a fair settlement.  

How is separate property defined under equitable property division rules? 

Certain assets may belong to one spouse but not the other, which would affect their divorce settlement. For example, if a spouse receives an inheritance, it does not become jointly owned property unless the spouse receiving the inheritance commingles it with marital assets. One or both parties also may have separate property, which is typically property they owned prior to the marriage. The same goes for liabilities, like a college loan that was incurred before the marriage. A prenuptial agreement could also impact how property division will be handled.  

Minnesota law requires full financial disclosure from both sides in a divorce. It is unlawful to hide assets or to attempt to deceive the court by not listing certain assets during the disclosure process. It is sometimes possible to trade assets to keep things fair between spouses, such as one spouse agreeing to keep the house while the other accepts assets of equal value in exchange. An experienced family law attorney can help protect the interests of a concerned spouse during property division proceedings.