Search Site

When Separate Property Becomes Marital Property

One of the biggest issues in any divorce is how property will be divided. Generally, property that one spouse holds before marriage, as well as inheritances and certain gifts, are considered separate property. Income and assets acquired during the marriage are typically regarded as marital property.

Minnesota is not a community property state. The state focuses on equitable—not to be confused with equal—distribution. Courts divide property in a manner they deem fair, but it’s not guaranteed to be a 50/50 split down the middle.

So when does separate property become marital property?

What is separate property?

Generally, separate property is considered assets held before marriage, inheritances and gifts. However, these are all subject to a tracing requirement—and if the assets or funds were commingled during marriage, they may become marital property. Commingling generally means the asset was used for the benefit of the marriage.

Debts, too, can be separate property. For example, if either or both spouses acquired student loan debt or credit card debt before marriage, that’s typically considered their separate responsibility after divorce. However, exceptions always apply. You should always consult an attorney to get an individual consultation.

When does separate property become marital property?

Separate property can become marital property when it’s commingled with marital assets. For example, if you receive an inheritance from your great-aunt, but put that money into your joint marital account, it’s probably going to be deemed marital property.

Debts can be separate property, too, even if they were acquired during marriage. For example, if one spouse bought something on credit that only benefits them, a judge may deem it a separate debt and their sole responsibility after divorce.

Because the difference between separate and marital property can be so contentious, it’s important to retain a skilled divorce attorney. To learn more about your divorce and separate or marital property, call the seasoned divorce lawyers at Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A. in St. Paul, MN.

Our Attorneys
Client testimonials
  • "Tori had a thorough understanding of my situation and made excellent recommendations to resolve my concerns. She was persistent on communication and handled everything in a very timely manner. I would definitely hire her again in the future if needed." - M.K.

  • "With Appelhof, Pfeifer & Hart, P.A., it is like having a family physician. They are all knowledgeable, thorough, comforting, and the only call I need to make for all my legal needs for many years to come. No matter what the matter, I totally trust their advice and commitment to me and my family." - J.N.

  • "Mary from APH Law helped me thru a difficult divorce. She and the entire staff was there for me every step of the way helping me on what to do next. They listened to what I wanted and helped me achieve what matter the most to me in the divorce settlement." - Dana C.

  • "I chose APH after my initial consultation with Mary. I felt my best interest would be represented. The entire process went excellent, the attorneys and staff communicated effectively and efficiently with me throughout the process as they needed to. Being new to the legal process and verbiage, they walked me and talked me through the next steps and the jargon, I felt completely comfortable and represented. I hope I never have to use legal services again but if I do I will call Mary at APH Law and know that I will be taken care of." - Jeff M.

  • "Divorce is a time of emotion and stress. Mary Pfeifer , My lawyer was professional and compassionate. She was very informative through the process. Her insight helped me in my decisions. She worked hard to obtain a settlement which was fair to both parties.Though, I hope I won't need her help again. It is reassuring to know a good person that is willing to help." - Rod S.

  • "I first came to Ms. Jacquelyn Lutz of Appelhof, Pfeifer and Hart in October of 2016. It was definitely the worst time in my life and she compassionately spoke with me about my options. Ms. Lutz thoroughly explained the laws, statutes, process and what to expect going forward. What was supposed to be one case, turned into three intricate cases that took a huge toll on me and my family. Ms. Lutz represented me in court on all three cases with a vast knowledge of the laws and how to proceed accordingly. During all three cases she kept me informed, calm, gave me resources to utilize, and (most important) gave me a realistic view of what may come next. Ms. Lutz knew each case required a great deal of knowledge and creative thinking on how to legally proceed forward with each case. My family and friends are forever grateful for the amazing representation by Ms. Lutz. I highly recommend Ms. Lutz for anyone needing or considering superb representation for any kind of family law. " - M.H.


Contact us

Quick Contact Form