Answers To Common Questions About Divorce And Family Law
If you have family law questions, you’re not alone. This can be a confusing time. Below, I’ve provided answers to some of the most commonly asked divorce and family law questions. After reading, feel free to contact my firm with your own queries.
What should I look for in a family law attorney?
When hiring any lawyer, experience and knowledge are key traits to look for. This almost goes without saying. With family law attorneys, however, you should also focus on whether you and your attorney have temperaments and personalities that work well together. Your attorney will be guiding you through one of the most emotionally difficult processes of your life. You need to feel comfortable being open and honest with your attorney and trusting that they will be straightforward with you.
How is property divided in Minnesota divorce?
There are two basic guiding principles when it comes to dividing property in divorce. A small number of states adhere to the “community property” model, in which nearly everything acquired by either spouse during the marriage is equally owned by both and subject to division in divorce.
Minnesota is among the majority of states to use the “equitable distribution” model, in which assets are divided equitably, which isn’t always the same as equally. This model can be used to account for differences between the spouses that might have led to financial imbalance during and after divorce (such as one parent leaving the job market to stay at home with the children or one spouse supporting the other to pursue higher education).
What is separate property vs. marital property?
Generally, property each spouse owned prior to the marriage is considered separate property and not subject to division in divorce. Similarly, assets acquired during the marriage are generally considered marital property.
However, there are some gray areas. Say you owned a business prior to getting married. Although your spouse never helped run it, the business was supported with marital funds and profits went back into household finances. In divorce, your spouse may be entitled to a stake in the business because it became a commingled asset.
Can I receive a portion of my spouse’s retirement assets in divorce?
Retirement accounts are subject to division, depending on circumstances. If you and your spouse each have retirement accounts in your own names and each has a comparable amount of money in them, you may choose to keep your own and not worry about splitting them up. In other types of circumstances, however, retirement accounts can be split.
How these accounts are divided will depend on the type of plan/account it is and how much of the value was acquired during the marriage (when plans were started prior to marriage, the pre-marriage gains will generally be considered separate property).
Splitting up retirement assets sometimes requires a separate order from the divorce decree. Because these are valuable assets that can be complicated to split, you should discuss them with your attorney early on in the process.
Do You Have Additional Questions? Contact Me For Answers.
Krenner Law LLC is based in Oakdale, and I serve clients throughout the surrounding areas. To ask your own questions during an initial consultation, call my office at 651-447-6478 or send me an email.