When parties are going through a divorce, they often have problems determining who gets what property. Each party may have sentimental attachment to items, or may want the items to decorate their new home. Generally the two parties are able to reach an agreement on who gets what. However, there are many times where the parties want the same items and are willing to spend more money fighting over the item than it is actually worth.
When a person files for divorce, the parties involved are restrained from taking certain actions. For example, the party who has been paying insurance will continue to pay insurance, the party who pays the mortgage will continue to pay the mortgage, and so on. No assets can be sold or otherwise disposed of unless it is necessary to pay for basic living expenses. But what happens when the parties cannot agree on who gets which vehicle, or who is entitled to stay in the marital home?
If the parties are unable to agree on these issues, the matters are presented to the court. This is generally done in a temporary relief hearing. The party requesting the hearing will explain through written affidavit and some arguments by their attorney what they are asking for, why they want this, and why it is important for them to receive it. The other party is given the same opportunity to explain why they do not agree with the property division, or why it would be better for them to have the property. The judge will take all of the information presented into consideration and make a decision.
Oftentimes, the court does not want to be involved in dividing up personal property. Determining which party stays in the house is one thing, but determining who gets the antique end table is another. It is known to happen that a judge will order property sold and the proceeds divided between the parties, no matter how much sentimental value the property has. That is why it is best for the parties to try to put their emotions aside and come to an agreement on property outside of court.
If the parties are close to an agreement on property division but are stuck on a few items, attending mediation may be beneficial for them. At mediation, the parties are able to discuss the property that needs to be divided and often come to more creative solutions for dividing it. The parties may also raise the property division issues at a FENE.
One common misperception about property division is that it is 50/50. This is not quite true. Under Minnesota law, property is to be divided equitably (which does not necessarily mean equally). This brings in the concept of fairness. A court is not going to make sure every penny is matched on each side of a property settlement. If there are two vehicles, for example, and one is worth more than the other, but they are similar in value, then the court will award each party a vehicle and not worry about evening out the values.
Speaking to a qualified Minnesota divorce attorney can help make sense of things and give you a better understanding of what you may be entitled to. Call us today for a free consultation.