How to Divorce Your Wife and Keep Everything in Minnesota
Divorce can be messy, especially when significant assets are involved. Many husbands going through a divorce in Minnesota worry about losing half or more of their hard-earned property, money, and belongings. It’s a common myth that the wife is entitled to a 50/50 split of assets.
But is it possible to leave your marriage but hang on to all the assets in Minnesota?
While divorce laws aim to be fair and equitable, there are some ways that could allow you to retain a larger portion of resources when divorcing your wife in Minnesota.
Here’s what you need to know about marital property division in a Minnesota divorce.
What Exactly is Considered Marital Property in Minnesota?
In Minnesota, all property acquired during the marriage is regarded as marital property, irrespective of the source of funds, ownership title, or account holder.
This includes things like:
- The marital home
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts like 401ks and IRAs
- Investments and brokerage accounts
- Cars and vehicles
- Businesses owned by either spouse
- Personal property like furniture, jewelry, art, etc.
Debt accrued during the marriage is also divided, even if it is only in one spouse’s name.
Separate property that is excluded from the division includes:
- Gifts and inheritances received by one spouse
- Property owned before the marriage
- Settlement funds from personal injury lawsuits
So, if you’re wondering how to keep everything in a Minnesota divorce, understand that the default is an equitable split of marital assets and debts.
Is There Any Way to Keep All Assets in a Minnesota Divorce?
The short answer is no. Minnesota utilizes equitable distribution for property division, meaning marital property is divided in a fair and just manner. The goal is equality, not necessarily 50/50 splits.
While you can’t keep everything, there are some strategies to protect more of the marital assets:
Try to Keep the House
For many couples, the marital home is their biggest asset. And if you want to keep the house after divorce, there are a few options:
- Buy out your spouse’s share. Get an appraisal to determine the home’s value and buy out your spouse’s share of equity. You’ll need to refinance the mortgage into your name only.
- Offset the value. Your spouse keeps other assets to offset the value of the home. For example, you keep the house, and your spouse keeps more of the retirement accounts.
- Sell and split proceeds. If you can’t buy out your spouse or offset the asset value, selling the home and splitting proceeds may be the solution.
Your divorce attorney can advise if these options make sense, given your situation.
Ask for More Retirement Funds
Retirement accounts like 401(k)s and IRAs are also marital property up for division. Here are some tips to keep more of your retirement money:
- Trade retirement for other assets. Your spouse gets more of the home equity and bank accounts while you get to keep your retirement intact.
- Utilize QDROs. With qualified domestic relations orders (QDROs), retirement accounts can be divided without withdrawal penalties and taxes. The non-owning spouse typically gets a separate account.
- Withdraw and split before divorce. If your retirement is cashed out and split before the divorce, you can each roll over the funds into new individual accounts without penalty.
- Delay division. If retirement will be a major source of income later, the court may allow you to keep the accounts intact and divide them when you start withdrawals.
Negotiate an Uneven Split
While equal division is the starting point, courts allow uneven splits if certain factors apply. For example, if you were the primary breadwinner or managing the household, you may argue for 60/40 or 70/30 splits in your favor. Document your greater financial contributions and domestic efforts.
The key is negotiating a settlement in your favor before going to trial. Divorce mediation can help you and your spouse equitably compromise.
Consult an Attorney Before Deciding to Sell Marital Assets
If you do decide to sell or liquidate certain marital assets, consult with an attorney first about the process. There are rules against dissipating assets, concealing funds, or devaluing property once divorce is pending.
Likewise, do not make big asset purchases or sell property without your spouse’s consent. An experienced Minnesota divorce lawyer can ensure you take lawful steps to divide assets.
How Minnesota Courts Make Final Decisions on Property Division
If you and your spouse cannot compromise on property division, the court will make final rulings after considering these factors:
- Length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s income, potential earning ability, and education
- Marital standard of living
- Age and health of each spouse
- Child custody arrangements and the need to maintain a home.
- Contributions to acquiring assets like homemaking or education
- Economic circumstances at divorce and after
- Tax consequences of asset division
- Any other equitable factors
While keeping all the assets is highly unlikely, understanding how courts make decisions can help you argue for more. Consult with a Minnesota divorce attorney to understand the realities and protect your financial interests through the process. With proper legal strategy, ensuring you get your fair share is absolutely possible.
Talk to an Experienced Minnesota Divorce Attorney
There’s a lot to consider when marital assets are on the line in your divorce. The reality is keeping everything is highly unlikely. But a skilled Minnesota family law attorney can help you navigate property division strategically and work to protect your financial interests.
Contact the experienced divorce lawyers at Martine Law for trusted counsel through every stage of your case. We serve clients throughout the Twin Cities area and understand how to build a customized legal strategy around your goals in divorce. Schedule a consultation to explore your options for property division in Minnesota. Our attorneys are compassionate advocates who can guide you through divorce fairly and cost-effectively. Contact us today to get started.