The Division of Personal Property during a Divorce
Going through a divorce can be complicated. From determining child custody to dividing property, there are many moving pieces that need to be considered.
There are several factors that are taken into consideration when dividing personal property and assessing its value. Here’s what you need to know to understand the basics of property division when going through a divorce in Minnesota.
How Property Is Divided
Judges in Minnesota are required by law to make a just and equitable division of property in a divorce. This doesn’t necessarily mean it has to be equal, but it has to be fair. Additionally, since Minnesota is a no-fault divorce state, the cause of the divorce does not affect the division of property.
Among the many factors that the court considers when dividing property are the occupation and income of each spouse, the contribution of each spouse towards marital property, the length of the marriage, and future financial outlook.
Of course, the court only has to get involved if the divorcing parties are unable to come to an agreement outside of court.
Types of Property
It is also important to understand the different types of property that will be divided.
Real property includes items that are connected to land – like homes and commercial property. Alternatively, personal property includes everything else, such as bank accounts, furniture, or jewelry.
Marital property, which is what is divided by the court, is anything that was acquired during the marriage.
Non-marital property includes items that were acquired prior to the marriage or by bequest and is not divided by the court.
How Value Is Determined
In order to make a fair division of property, value needs to be assessed. Typically, there are two ways to do this.
First, each party will be able to testify to the value of the items that they request. The court presumes that the property owners know the value of their property.
Alternatively, for valuable assets, you might choose to have an expert testify. Expert testimony can be costly. However, for incredibly valuable property, you might find it to be worthwhile.
In some cases, rather than awarding the property to one party, the court will order certain property be sold and then give each spouse a share of the profits.
In addition to dividing property, Minnesota courts are also required to divide debt between divorcing spouses.
The judge will determine whether debts belong to one or both parties. Even if a debt was incurred during the marriage, the judge might decide that the debt only affected one party and will make that party responsible for paying it. Judges in Minnesota have quite a bit of leeway when dividing debts.
Property division is an incredibly important process. Not only is there likely a lot of monetary value attached to your property, but much of your property likely also has sentimental value. As a result, it is important to understand how judges in Minnesota assess property value and divide property.
The experienced attorneys at Collins, Buckley, Sauntry, & Haugh, PLLP, are experts in divorce law in Minnesota. Seeking experienced legal counsel is a great way to ensure that you understand how the division of property works in Minnesota. Please contact us online or at 651-227-0611 for a consultation.