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?
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.
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.
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"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.
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