In Minnesota, and in many other states across the nation, the courts divide marital property according to what the judge deems fair and equitable. Rather than divide property equally in half, the judge takes into account several factors before determining who receives what in the settlement.
Whether currently going through a divorce or starting the process, it is helpful to know how property division works, as well as the difference between marital and separate property.
What constitutes marital property?
Otherwise known as community property, marital properties are possessions and assets you have gathered during your marriage, according to brides.com. In addition to the family home, vehicles, furniture and bank account contents, the marital property also include the following items that may get overlooked in the negotiations process:
- Lottery ticket winnings and income tax returns
- Frequent flier miles and travel rewards points
- Collections, such as wine, art, coins, antiques and classic cars
- Term life insurance policies, 401k plans, retirement accounts, stocks and money market accounts
- Memberships to exclusive golf courses and country clubs
- Gifts exchanged between you and your spouse during the marriage
Any money loaned to a third party during the marriage is also eligible for the division once it is repaid.
How is separate property different?
Separate property, on the other hand, may stay with the original owner in the final divorce settlement. This includes property you owned prior to getting married, gifts given to you by a third party before, during or after the marriage, inheritance and personal injury compensation.
It is important to remember that if you mix separate property with marital property by adding your spouse’s name to a title or depositing inheritance money in a joint bank account, it can lose its separate status and become eligible for division in the divorce settlement.