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During a divorce, you may not see your soon-to-be-ex in the best light, and you may hope your ex-spouse receives little of the marital pie that you two had accumulated during your marriage. Divorcing spouses in Minnesota are entitled to an equitable portion of the property in the marital pie. There is some property that both spouses are entitled to receive and divide appropriately; there may be property that 100% goes to one spouse and the other spouse receives 0%. This division will depend on whether the property is marital or non-marital.

Non-marital property is property that belongs to a spouse before marriage; property a spouse inherits during or before the marriage that is solely intended for the spouse and not the married couple; or property that was gifted directly to one of the spouses. Anything that is not classified as non-marital is marital property. Sometimes, property can become commingled and portions of the property that was non-marital can become marital.

For example, Spouse A comes into the marriage with a retirement asset of $25,000.00. During the marriage, the retirement asset increases due to continued contributions, and when the spouses are divorcing, the asset is now worth $100,000.00. Spouse A brought $25,000.00 to the marriage, so Spouse A claims $25,000.00 right off the top and the remaining $75,000.00 is divided fairly and equitably between the spouses. “Fairly and equitably” can but does not necessarily mean split equally.

An angry spouse may try to dishonestly carve a bigger slice of the pie by lying about financial assets or falsifying values of the assets. A lying spouse will be discovered because each spouse has the right to see the other spouse’s finances during a divorce. Recently, a University of Minnesota professor attempted to cheat his ex-wife of her share of retirement assets when he forged documents to reduce the actual value of one retirement asset and provided documents with missing information regarding another retirement account. He was sentenced to four years of probation and four months in the Hennepin County Workhouse. Being intentionally dishonest about the marital pie has consequences.

Let Howard Family Law, LLC dig into your marital pie to make sure you understand what property you are entitled to receive during a divorce.

If you have questions related to a possible dissolution of marriage, please do not hesitate to contact our office (952) 224-9410