There is no denying that divorce is an emotional process. However, it is also a legal process, and in certain situations it is beneficial to keep emotions as separate as possible. This is especially important during property division.
Property division is the process in which you will divide up your marital assets with your ex. Do not expect to automatically receive half of everything though. While popular forms of entertainment often show property division as being 50/50, the state of Minnesota only requires that property division be fair to both parties.
What is a fair division of assets?
An equitable division of assets will look a little different for everyone. Depending on your situation, it could very closely resemble a 50/50 split, or could be something closer to 60/40. You should avoid getting too caught up on the ratio though, and instead focus on whether the outcome of the division process is reasonable.
You might even be able to reach your own settlement agreement without relying on a judge for input. To do so, you and your ex will need to both be willing to cooperate and negotiate where necessary. It is also a good idea for you each to have your own legal counsel to make sure that your rights are upheld and respected throughout the process.
What counts as marital property?
During a divorce you only have to divide your marital property and not anything that you own separately. So how can you tell the difference between marital and separate property? With a few exceptions, most assets that you acquire during marriage are considered jointly owned and are marital property. Examples of exceptions to this rule include:
- Personal gifts
- Inherited property, in some cases
- Legal settlements
Things like income and retirement savings are generally considered joint property. This is true even if only one person worked and deposited funds into a retirement account during the marriage. Debt is frequently considered jointly owned as well, even when only one person was responsible for the spending.
What about hidden assets?
Unfortunately, not everyone is honest during the property division process. Some people will even go as far as to hide an asset in a personal account or by temporarily transferring it into a friend’s name. If you suspect that your ex is hiding something, that could mean that you will receive less than your fair share, do not hesitate to bring these concerns to your trusted counsel.
Life after divorce can be complicated, and starting off on the right financial foot can make a world of difference. This is why getting the best possible property division settlement is key to your future financial security. One way that you can help support this goal is to learn as much as possible about your legal rights early on in the process.