Property Division in Minnesota

The marriage is over and the two of you are trying to figure out who gets what.  The first thing you should know is that the two of you can agree to divide your property however you want.  You can agree to divide it equally, with each of you getting one half.  You can agree to divide it unequally, with one of you getting the cabin and the other getting everything else.  You can even agree you don’t want anything and he/she can have it all. 

However, if the two of you simply cannot agree and a judge has to determine who should get what, there are a few rules to help the judge decide.  

  1. Non-Marital Property typically remains yours and will not be awarded to your ex in a divorce.  Non-marital property is any property you: a) owned before the marriage; b) acquired individually as a gift or inheritance during the marriage; c) acquired in exchange for property listed in a) or b); and d) property specifically excluded as marital property by a valid prenuptial agreement.
  2. Marital Property is any property acquired by either you or your spouse during the marriage, and it is subject to division as part of the divorce.  This includes personal property such as household goods and furnishings, bank accounts and pension accounts.  It does not matter whose name is on the title, it can be awarded to either of you.
  3. The judge is required to divide your marital property equitably, not necessarily equally.   This means the judge is not required to award you each 50% of whatever marital property you own.  The judge could award one of you 40% of it and the other 60%, or any other division the judge finds to be equitable.  The factors a judge can consider in deciding what share each of you should get can be found in Minnesota Statute 518.58

So, who does get the dog?  Well, if Fido was yours before you got married, Fido is still yours.  If you bought Fido during the marriage and your spouse doesn’t want him, congratulations, Fido is yours.  If you both want Fido……good luck, the judge is going to love deciding that one.