Minnesota Info

Minnesota Divorce Start Your Divorce Find Professionals Minnesota Articles Divorce Facts Divorce Grounds Residency Divorce Laws Mediation/Counseling Divorce Process Legal Separation Annulments Property Division Alimony Child Custody Child Support Divorce Forms Process Service Grandparent Rights Forum Minnesota Products Divorce by County

Minnesota Articles

Agreements Attorney Relationship Custody & Visitation Child Support Divorce/General Domestic Abuse Financial Planning Mediation Parenting Property Division Spousal Support SEE ALL

Info Categories

Contemplating Divorce Children & Divorce Divorce, Dollars & Debt Divorce Laws Divorce Process Divorce Negotiation SEE ALL

More Information

Articles Checklists Research Center Cases of Interest Dictionary Encyclopedia Encyclopedia (pop-up) Blogs

For Professionals

Advertise With Us Free Network Page Join Our Network Submit Articles Case Management Sign In

Network Sites

Minnesota Divorce Support Minnesota Divorce Online

Minnesota Property Division
Property Distribution Laws in Minnesota

In Minnesota the courts generally accept a fair and reasonable property division the parties agree to, but if the parties cannot agree, the Minnesota court divides the property within the Judgment of Divorce.

Minnesota is an "equitable distribution" state. Equitable does not mean equal, or even half, but rather what the District Court considers fair.

When the parties are unable to reach a settlement, the District Court considers all relevant factors including:

  • the length of the marriage,
  • any prior marriage of a party,
  • the age,
  • health,
  • station,
  • occupation,
  • amount and sources of income,
  • vocational skills,
  • employability,
  • estate,
  • liabilities,
  • needs,
  • opportunity for future acquisition of capital assets, and
  • income of each party.

The court considers the contribution each spouse made in the acquisition, preservation, depreciation or appreciation in the amount or value of the marital property, as well as the contribution of a spouse as a homemaker. The court presumes that each spouse made a substantial contribution to the acquisition of income and property while they were living together as husband and wife.

Moreover, Minnesota is one of eight jurisdictions that include separate property in the marital estate providing the court finds a special showing of need by the non-titled spouse.

According to the Minnesota Statutes - Chapters: 518.58, if there is a substantial change in value of an asset between the date of valuation and the final distribution, the court may adjust the valuation of that asset as necessary to effect an equitable distribution.

Since Minnesota is an equitable distribution state, the court divides all marital property in an equitable fashion according to the court unless agreed to otherwise by the divorcing spouses.

Marital Property vs. Separate Property

The marital estate includes any assets or debts that were acquired during the marriage. Each spouse has an equal interest in marital assets or debts, no matter how property is titled or held and no matter who paid for the asset or who incurred the debt. That means the marital estate could include a credit card debt that is in the name of one spouse.

Marital property includes 401K plans, stock plans, stock options, real estate, frequent flier entitlements, bank account proceeds, furniture, utility debts, credit card debts and any other form of asset or liability.

Separate property includes any asset acquired before the marriage, an asset excluded by a valid prenuptial agreement, personal injury proceeds, inheritance and its appreciation, and gifts to one spouse but not to both.

Valuing and Dividing Property

First, the court classifies assets and liabilities, property and debt, as marital or separate. Then it assigns a monetary value to the marital property and debt. Finally, it distributes the marital assets between the two parties equitably.

The Marital Home

There are no special rules for the marital home. However, many people are under the mistaken impression that a parent with custody stays in the marital home without dividing the marital equity until the last minor child reaches the age of 18. In most cases, the marital equity is divided unless it creates an extreme hardship and endangers the children.

In Minnesota as in many jurisdictions, the equity in the marital home is often one of the biggest assets the spouses divide. The equity is the market value of the house, less any debts or liens against it. Equity is established by determining what the current market value of the home is at the time of separation. Once the spouses agree to a current market value, any debts associated with the property (mortgage, taxes, home equity loans, etc.) are deducted from the market value to arrive at the equity to be divided. Normally, making this calculation requires a paid real estate appraisal or a real estate agent can prepare a market analysis for free.

From there, couples choose one of three options to divide the equity:

  • The spouses sell the home and divide the proceeds.
  • One of the parties may refinance the home and buy out the other party.
  • One spouse (usually the custodial parent) remains in the home with the exclusive use and possession for a certain period of time (for example, until the youngest child graduates from high school), then either buys out the other spouse or sells the home and divides the proceeds.

Pensions and Retirement Accounts

Retirement plans, like any other asset, may be divided. Any retirement benefits accrued during the marriage would be considered part of the marital estate and divided between divorcing parties.

In Minnesota vested pensions are marital property. A pension vests when all the requirements to receive the pension have been met. Unvested pensions are also marital property. Until the pension has vested, the person under whom the pension is maintained has only an expectancy of interest in the pension.

Several different methods of valuation are used in determining how much a marital asset is worth, depending upon the asset to be valued and the level of agreement between the parties. Courts generally accept the value when the spouses mutually agree on a value of a particular asset. Experts may be retained by the parties or by the courts to determine the value of marital assets if the parties cannot agree. Such experts may include accountants, real estate or business appraisers, or pension valuators. The use of experts adds to the cost of the divorce.

In Minnesota the court may include the retirement benefits and plans earned by both spouses as marital assets available for division. Retirement benefits vary greatly but can generally be divided into two groups:

  • Defined Contribution Plans: A defined amount of money belonging to the employee. The employee and/or the employer make defined contributions. The balance of the plan is constantly changing, but its value is definable at any given point. 401(k)s, 403(b)s and profit sharing plans fall into this category.
  • Defined Benefit Plans: A retirement benefit where an employer promises to pay a benefit to an employee sometime in the future, based upon some type of formula. Normally, this formula is based on the employees salary near the end of his or her career and the number of years he or she worked for the employer before retirement. Defined benefit plans are much more complicated to value and often require the professional evaluation of an actuary to determine exact values.

In Minnesota, if spouses share in each others retirement or pension plan, a Qualified Domestic Relations Order must be completed. A QDRO is a written set of instructions that explains to a plan administrator that two parties are dividing pension benefits. The instructions set forth the terms and conditions of the distribution - how much of the benefits are to be paid to each party, when such benefits can be paid, how such benefits should be paid, etc.

Start Minnesota Divorce Start Your Minnesota Online Divorce Today
Easy, Fast and Affordable with a 100% Guarantee.
Minnesota Divorce Find Minnesota Divorce Professionals in Your Area:
Join the Network
Minnesota Divorce Products, Services and Solutions Minnesota Divorce Products, Services and Solutions
Minnesota Divorce Resources to Help You Through the Process.
Online Parenting Class Minnesota Mandatory Online Parenting Class
Easy and convenient - complete at your own pace online.
Divorce and Custody Books Discount Divorce Bookstore
Over 100 Titles of the Best Books on Divorce & Custody.
Divorce Downloads Divorce Download Center
Instantly Download, Books, Manuals, & Forms.
Divorce Worksheet Free Minnesota Divorce Worksheet & Separation Agreement
Your Guide to Get Organized and Put Everything in Writing.
Divorce Lawyers & Mediators
 

Find Professionals

Easily Connect With a Lawyer or Mediator
Have Divorce Professionals from Your Area Contact You!
Enter Your Zip Code:

 

Start Your Divorce File for a Minnesota Divorce

 

Settle Your Divorce Negotiate Your Minnesota Divorce

 

Support Forum Minnesota Support Forum

Children In Between - Online Parenting Class


FEATURED TOOL - 3StepDivorceTM (a complete "do it yourself" solution for any uncontested divorce)

Guarantee Official PayPal Seal Facebook Twitter Versign Secure Site
Limited Offer Women's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"The Absolute Best Investment in Your Divorce"

Men's Rights Manual For Divorce
Cover Price: $55.95
Your Price: $29.95
You Save: $26.00

"Uncover Your Options and Unleash Solutions"