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How do real estate property divisions work in Minnesota divorces?

In Minnesota, a divorce can have wide-ranging ramifications for the lives of the participants. One of the most common issues that arise as the marital estate is divided is property division. Because real estate can be so lucrative, it's likely that both parties will want to control it. Many issues such as who owns the property, who should get the property and whether it can be sold are likely to arise. There are certain factors that must be understood before beginning the process.

Depending on the circumstances, the property might belong to both parties and will have to be part of the divorce asset split up during the property division process. If, for example, the property was purchased by both spouses after the marriage, it is considered a marital asset. One spouse receiving the entire property while the other gets nothing is not considered fair. The spouse receiving the property will have to provide some form of compensation. A lien against the house is an option for the spouse not getting the property.

Some divorcing spouses decide that they would like to sell the property and share the proceeds evenly. Disputes that come up include the property valuation and how much is owed and who will be allowed to live in the home while it's for sale. Other disputes that may arise begin if there is a disagreement as to the sale price. Who will pay for the house and its upkeep, who will handle repairs and how the expenses will be handled when the house is sold will also need to be decided. Depending on their desires, the spouses will need to come to some form of agreement on these issues.

If one spouse purchased the property prior to the marriage, there might be a difference separating whether it is a marital property or non-marital property. If it is a marital property, it is subject to equal division. If it is not, it might not be part of the marital assets. In this situation, the spouse who bought the property might be the one who receives it in the divorce. If the other spouse contributed to the house payments and other aspects of paying for it, there might be the need for restitution in the divorce to properly compensate the non-owner spouse. Being informed is key to receiving one's fair share. Discussing the matter with an experienced attorney may help toward that end.

Source:, "Common Questions about Real Estate in Divorce," accessed Sept. 29, 2014

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