If you decide to file for divorce in Minnesota, you likely know that you and your attorney will have to navigate the state’s divorce laws as you work towards finalizing the end of your marriage. Along with child custody and spousal support, property division is one of the main contested areas in a divorce.
Familiarize yourself with the following tips about asset division to prepare yourself for what to expect during the divorce process.
1. Know the difference between marital and separate property.
Your non-marital or “separate” property includes assets you got before your marriage. Any property you purchased using funds you had before marriage is also separate property. Additionally, any property gifted or inherited during your marriage counts as property that only you own.
Marital property is all the property obtained during your marriage.
2. Learn about the equitable distribution method.
Minnesota divorce courts use the equitable distribution method to distribute the property fairly, not necessarily an equal split. The judge presiding over your marriage will consider several factors when deciding what is fair to you and your spouse. For example, the judge may look at each source of income, how long the marriage lasted, financial standing and who has custody of any children involved.
3. Stay mindful of anything relating to money.
In anticipation of your divorce, take steps to protect your financial interests. Check your joint accounts regularly to ensure your spouse is not moving or unnecessarily spending money. Protect your banking passwords and change them regularly. Avoid refinancing or signing up for joint credit cards during this time.
Since property settlements remain final after your divorce becomes official, you should not lightly enter into any agreement to divide your assets and debts.