Respectfully Resolving an Often-Contentious Issue
In theory, the concept of non-marital property sounds simple, but courts have interpreted it many different ways, making it one of the more challenging aspects of the divorce process. Fortunately collaborative law gives couples the tools needed to make sense of non-marital property and divide it in a satisfying way.
Understanding the Issue
Non-marital property is essentially this concept: the property that has been acquired by one spouse – but not the other – through inheritance or before marriage, can be considered the individual property of that spouse and is not subject to property division. So, why the confusion over this seemingly-simple concept? Here are the reasons:
• Mixed marital and non-marital character: It’s so easy over years of marriage to lose track of what came in and where it went. Sometimes, inheritance funds can be deposited into joint accounts, or invested in joint assets such as a home. Sorting this out can absorb many thousands of dollars in expert fees to actuaries or other financial experts.
• Invasion of non-marital share: Under Minnesota law, the court can “invade” up to half of a spouse’s non-marital property and award it to the other spouse, if the judge believes that there will otherwise be an “unfair hardship” to the other spouse.
• Appreciated value of non-marital property: Under Minnesota law, the growth of non-marital property is not always considered to be non-marital. In other words, even if an initial investment was non-marital, the increased value of that investment can be subject to “equitable division” between both spouses.
How Does the Collaborative Divorce Process Help?
First, neutral experts are used to help gather information and offer opinions, so that both partners do not need to hire their own experts. Second, determining the value of non-marital property is handled step by step: the Financial Specialist will first review with the couple various methods for determining such value, starting with the least costly solution and working up from there. That way, couples are frequently able to resolve these questions without costly outside experts.
Saving Time and Money
Based in Edina and serving the entire state, Collaborative Divorce Minnesota helps people understand non-marital property and how they can save money by using the collaborative process. Call 952-405-2015 or send us a message using the form on our contact page to get in touch with our professionals.