Dividing Property

Minnesota is a "common law" or "marital property" state. This means that there is no statutory formula for dividing property. Instead, the law requires that property be divided "equitably." This does not mean "equally," but rather what is fair under the circumstances. Both marital property (property acquired during the marriage) and pre-marital property (property acquired by one spouse before the marriage) can be divided by Minnesota courts. A court can award a spouse up to one-half of the other spouse's pre-marital property.

Courts can divide assets, and they can divide debts. A common mistake that unrepresented parties make when dividing property is not finding out about all of the other parties' property, especially the debt.

Another common mistake that unrepresented parties make when dividing property is not taking into account the tax consequences of the property division. For example, home equity worth $100,000, and a retirement account with a balance of $100,000, are not worth the same, because of tax consequences.