What does equitable distribution of assets mean?

On Behalf of | Sep 14, 2023 | Divorce |

Divorce is a challenging process, and one of the most critical aspects is the equitable distribution of marital assets.

In Minnesota, the legal system strives to ensure fairness when dividing property between spouses.

Understanding equitable distribution

Minnesota follows the principle of equitable distribution when dividing marital assets. Equitable distribution does not mean equal distribution, but rather, it aims to be fair. The court takes into account various factors to determine what is fair, ensuring that both parties are reasonably provided for.

Marital vs. non-marital assets

Before dividing assets, it is important to distinguish between marital and non-marital property. Marital property typically includes assets acquired during the marriage, such as homes, vehicles, and joint bank accounts. Non-marital property, on the other hand, includes assets owned by one spouse before the marriage or received as gifts or inheritances during the marriage. Non-marital property generally remains with the original owner.

Factors considered by the court

Several factors influence the court’s decision when distributing marital assets, including:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Contributions by each spouse
  • Economic circumstances
  • Health and age
  • Marital debts

Once the court has assessed these factors, it will allocate assets and debts in a way it deems fair. This may involve selling certain assets, such as a house, and dividing the proceeds. Alternatively, one spouse may retain certain assets while the other receives a monetary settlement.

While more than 600,000 divorces happen each year, every situation is different. In Minnesota, the court’s goal is to ensure that both parties can maintain a reasonably comparable standard of living after the divorce.