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How do Minnesota courts define marital property?

For many Minnesota spouses going through the divorce process, getting a fair result in the property division phase is a critical objective. In Minnesota, courts divide all of a divorcing couple's assets into marital and non-marital property. Marital property is subject to equitable division; non-marital property is not. Minnesota statutes define marital property as any property acquired by either spouse during the time the parties were married, unless a party can prove it is non-marital property.

Non-marital property includes property given to only one spouse as a gift, or inherited by only one spouse from a deceased person's estate. It also includes any property a spouse acquired before the parties were married. Property acquired in exchange for non-marital property is also considered non-marital, as is a passive increase during the marriage in the value of a non-marital asset.

How an asset is titled makes no difference in the classification of an asset as marital or non-marital property. Thus, if one spouse buys a vehicle during the marriage, it will be considered marital property even if it is titled in that spouse's name only. Marital property can include both personal property and real estate, and it includes that portion of a pension or retirement plan that was acquired during the marriage.

In Minnesota, courts begin with a presumption that all property the couple owns is marital property. If the parties dispute whether a particular asset is marital property, the spouse claiming that it is non-marital has the burden of proving that in court.

Source: Minn. Stat. § 518.003, subd. 3 (2014), accessed Aug. 22, 2015

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