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How do courts divide property in a divorce?

On Behalf of | Jun 17, 2022 | Divorce |

Some people think that ending their marriage means that they are going to have to divide everything that they own into halves. In reality, not every divorcing couple should expect that they will have to split property right down the middle.

It is always preferable for spouses to agree on how to divide assets when they get a divorce. If they cannot reach an agreement, a family court judge can issue a ruling about property division.

Marital property

For the most part, courts will not divide all of the property that two spouses own. Instead, they divide only marital assets. Non-marital assets that spouses acquired prior to a marriage or received as a gift will remain separate property after a divorce.


It is important for divorcing couples to recognize that a court will divide debt in the same manner that it divides assets. Just like a regular property, courts divide only marital debt instead of forcing spouses to share one another’s personal debts.

Equitable distribution

In Minnesota, courts try to divide marital property in a way that is most equitable to both parties. Equity does not necessarily mean parity, so court analyses focus on fairness rather than trying to create equally proportionate halves of all marital assets. A few key factors in assessing what is equitable include the length of a marriage, the respective wealth of each spouse, and their respective earning capacity.

During a divorce, good communication and financial transparency help both parties. Being willing to communicate constructively and compromise can make the process of dividing property easier to navigate.