The Difference Between Marital and Non-Marital Property

Marital property is any property that is acquired during the marriage. If during your marriage you and your spouse purchase a home, then this home is considered “marital property.” If during the marriage, you start a new job and receive a retirement account through your position, the retirement account is considered “marital property.”

Non-Marital vs. Marital Property

Non-marital property is anything acquired prior to the marriage or any specific bequest or devise that you receive during your marriage. If you bought a car before you were married, then this car is considered “non-marital” property. If your grandmother passes away during your marriage and she specifically leaves only you a sum of money, then that money is “non-marital” property.

Property can be both marital and non-marital. For example, if you purchased a home prior to the marriage but then you and your spouse live in the home, make improvements, and build the home’s equity, then the home is both marital and non-marital.

Why Does it Matter?

Why does it matter if property is non-marital? In Minnesota, the Court divides all marital property equitably, which oftentimes means that the Court will divide all of the marital assets in half. In the case of the home purchased prior to the marriage with equity built during the marriage, the Court will parcel out the marital portion and the non-marital portion. This is done through a procedure called tracing. The Court will look at any documents that a spouse produces demonstrating the price of the home prior to the marriage. The Court will then trace through any improvements on the home or changes in equity and come up with an amount on the home that is marital. The Court will then divide the portion of the home that is deemed marital and award the spouse any non-marital interest that he or she had.

Deciding what assets are marital and non-marital can become a complicated process and may be the basis for disputes during the dissolution. Individuals seeking divorces should provide the attorneys with all financial information possible, so that the attorneys can provide the Court with the information that it needs to divide all of the property in a marriage.

Our Family Law Attorneys

The family law attorneys at Heimerl & Lammers have strong roots in the Minneapolis / St. Paul community and are dedicated to helping you with all of your family law needs. Meet our family law attorneys:

All of our attorneys are familiar with resources and programs available to families in the Twin Cities. The majority of their time is spent handling cases in all areas of family law, from divorce, to custody, to wills and trusts.

Our Commitment to Service 

Our commitment to you includes:

  • Promptly addressing your needs. Our attorneys and staff will make sure that your concerns are addressed as soon as possible.  We know that legal issues can be stressful and anxiety producing.  We will do our best to work on your behalf towards a solution.
  • Responding to your inquiries. Whether by phone, email, text, fax or mail, our team will be available to answer your questions ASAP.
  • Being available to meet you in person. If you want to speak to your lawyer face-to-face, we have several Twin Cities office locations convenient for you.
  • Obtaining results.  We aren’t here just to bill hours or cause unneeded disputes.  We are here to serve you to get results. At all times we use our expertise and creativity to get the absolute best resolution to your legal issues.

We Can Help 

You are not alone.

The attorneys and staff at our firm take the time to actually listen to our clients. We will carefully explain the process you are facing and guide you through it while looking out for your best interests. We know that each client’s individual situation is unique and important to them. Therefore, we won’t treat your representation with the “cookie-cutter” approach other law firms seem to take.

If you need to speak with an attorney in Minnesota, contact us today. We can assist with a wide array of issues, including family law, personal injury, workers’ comp, employment law, wills and trusts, and estate planning.


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