Q: What is the difference between marital and nonmarital property? What is the impact on a divorce?
A: In Minnesota, all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage is
presumed to be marital, regardless of whether the property is titled in one spouse’s name alone or with a third person as a co-owner. If property is marital, then it is subject to equitable (not equal) division upon divorce. Nonmarital property is property acquired by either spouse before the marriage, through an inheritance by a third party to one spouse and not the other, by gift from a third party to one spouse but not the other, or the property is excluded by a valid antenuptial or prenuptial agreement. (See Q&A Blog #3 for a discussion of antenuptial/prenuptial agreements). Nonmarital property is not subject to equitable division upon divorce. (Exception: nonmarital property can be divided when one spouse would experience an unfair hardship if the nonmarital property is not divided.) The presumption that property is marital is overcome by a showing that the property is nonmarital. In other words, the spouse arguing that property is nonmarital has the burden of proving it is nonmarital.
Letty M-S Van Ert is an associate attorney at Tuft & Lach, PLLC located in Maplewood, MN. In addition to representing clients in the areas of estate planning, probate, divorce, custody, parenting time, child support and other family law matters, she is also a Rule 114 Qualified Neutral (mediator) serving clients in Ramsey County, Washington County, Hennepin County, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and surrounding areas.