Affirmative Duty to Disclose Assets
Minnesota is an equitable division state. Meaning that more often than not, things are split 50/50, but there can be an “equitable” division if it is warranted. So then the questions becomes, what is subject to division.
Everything! Parties going through a divorce have an affirmative duty to disclose all assets and liabilities accurately to the other side and to the Court. The old adage of “what they don’t know won’t hurt them” is not accurate as related to assets in a divorce. In fact, if an ex-spouse find out about assets that were not properly disclosed, that is grounds to reopen the entire divorce and re-allocate assets.
In a recent unpublished Minnesota Appellate Court case, a party received a default divorce where she represented to the Court that the homestead was a marital asset. It was awarded to her. During her process of trying to get her ex-husband out of the homestead, he asserted that in the eviction case as well as the divorce case that it was his non–marital asset and there should be a different division of assets. The Court re-opened the divorce and dismissed the eviction based upon wife’s inaccurate disclosure of assets.
Lesson to be learned here is not only do you have to disclose everything in your divorce, you need to accurately disclose it. If you do not, the divorce is open to fraud allegations and could be opened up and you may be forced litigate your divorce again.