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Who gets the family home in a Minnesota divorce?

When a Minnesota couple makes the decision to end their marriage, often, one of the first questions is who will get the house. There is no simple answer to this question that will apply in every case. If the couple cannot reach an agreement and the decision is left in the hands of the court, there are a number of factors a judge will consider.

In Minnesota, all marital property is divided equitably between the parties. As we discussed in an earlier post, marital property is generally any property either spouse acquired while the couple was married, unless it was acquired in the form of an inheritance or gift.

Assets can be considered partly marital and partly non-marital. If one spouse bought the house before the marriage, some portion of the house's value can be classified as the non-marital property of that spouse. However, any appreciation in the house's value during the marriage will be considered marital property. Similarly, if there is a mortgage on the house and the couple made mortgage payments during the marriage, the resulting increase in equity will likely be considered marital property.

Other factors also come into play. If the couple has children, the spouse who is awarded physical custody may have a stronger claim to the house.

Of course, it often makes more sense to sell the house and divide the proceeds. But even then, figuring out what percentage of the proceeds should go to each spouse will depend on the circumstances. When it comes to property division in divorce, having an experienced family law attorney on one's side can help a spouse get a fair result.

Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Property Division FAQ," accessed Oct. 18, 2015

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