When two people get married, the income, assets, property and debts they acquire and incur during the marriage are considered ‘marital’ property under Minnesota law. It does not matter who’s name is on the asset or debt – if it was earned or spent during the marriage, it is still presumed to be marital. Minnesota judges are required to divide marital property equitably. Although equitably does not mean equally, typically the division of everything will be approximately equal unless there are circumstances that would make that unfair.

Despite the requirement that marital property be divided equitably, when a party can prove that property is non-marital – or not acquired as part of the marital relationship – the property may be awarded entirely to the owner of the non-marital property. Minnesota law considers property that is given as a gift to one party only, property that was inherited by one party and property that was owned by one party prior to the marriage to be non-marital property.

It is up to the party who is claiming that property is non-marital to prove his or her claim. In an unpublished Minnesota Court of Appeals case, Lang v Lang, the appellate court found that certain parcels of real estate were the property of one of the parties. The real estate had been purchased by the husband’s father and then transfered to the husband. This happened during the marriage but the court found that the transfer was a gift to the husband only, making the real estate the husband’s non-marital property.

As a result, the wife was not entitled to any interest in most of the real estate. The parties had built a house on one parcel of real estate during the marriage. The court found that the house was marital and the value of the house was divided as part of the marriage, however, the land that the house was built on was awarded to the husband alone as his non-marital property.

If you are getting divorced and you believe that some of your property might be non-marital, you will be required to provide the proof of your non-marital claim. Our attorneys work with clients who need to prove non-marital claims to protect their property interests.

Cooper Law, LLC is unique because we offer sliding scale fees for people of modest means and our attorneys have years of experience. Call us at (612) 568-4529 today for a free telephone consultation.