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Property division in Minnesota is not black and white

You have decided to divorce your spouse, but you are worried about the financial fallout of this major life event. How can you be sure that you will be in the best position financially, following the marital breakup?

A particularly important aspect of divorce that will impact your financial situation long term is asset division. Here is a look at how Minnesota courts handle the division of marital property, and what your rights are in this area during your divorce proceeding.

A look at marital property in Minnesota

Marital property is any property that you and your spouse have accumulated during your marriage. This type of property may include real estate or cars, for example.

Marital property is the opposite of separate property, or personal property, which is any property that either you or the other party acquired prior to your marriage. It can also be any gift you received, an inheritance you received or an award you received from a court. However, if you acquire marital property using personal property, then your personal property will be marital property.

Equitable distribution in Minnesota

When it comes to dividing property, the state of Minnesota follows the equitable distribution principle. Based on this principle, a judge determines a fair, or equitable, method of dividing shared property. The judge will consider various factors when making this decision -- for example, the length of the marriage, each spouse's income and financial standing, and whether you share children.

The equitable distribution approach is different from the community property principle that a few other states use. Instead of focusing on dividing property fairly, a community property state divides marital property 50/50.

Your rights when dealing with property division

The best situation when you are tackling property division is for you and your future ex to arrive at your own agreement for splitting your property. You can do this through informal negotiations or mediation -- processes that tend to be a lot less stressful and time consuming than traditional divorce litigation is.

If you and the other party cannot create your own settlement agreement outside of court, then you must rely on a judge to divide your property for you. Either way, an attorney can provide you with the guidance you need to pursue the most personally favorable outcome possible.

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