Finalizing a divorce action requires the resolution of several key elements. One of the major components required for a dissolution of marriage is a division of your assets and debts.
Depending on the type of relationship you have with your spouse during the process, you may find that you can reach an amicable compromise on your financial matters. Absent this, a judge will examine the facts and make a decision that follows the law.
What is equitable distribution?
Under Minnesota law, a court equitably divides your marital property. Do not confuse this with an equal split, as it does not always come out that way. Equitable means a judge will decide a fair division of assets and debts based on several lifestyle and situational elements.
What does the court use to determine a fair split?
The judge may begin with a tabulation of your marital property, including all money, property and debt you and your spouse amassed through the duration of your marriage. Any assets, property, and debt you owned before the marriage and still hold in your name alone, do not get swept into the marital pot.
After this, the court may examine your marital lifestyle and the contributions you each made to the relationship to determine a fair division of the property. To accomplish this equitable split, the judge may consider:
- The duration of the marriage
- How much each of you contributed to the marital pot
- If one of you remained home to raise children
- The expected income capacity of each of you
- Whether one of you has substantial separate property
The judge may ask additional probative questions to determine equitable distribution. If possible, you and your spouse may want to reach an agreement on property division so you can maintain control over the outcome.