Many families in Brainerd and surrounding areas own several acres of land (or more). These assets often become an issue when couples divorce.
Review the factors involved in the fair division of land in Minnesota divorce.
Separate vs. marital property
When one spouse owned an asset or accrued debt before marriage, the court treats it as separate. All assets and debts accumulated during the marriage constitute separate property. However, commingled property is common, especially in long marriages. For example, if one person owned land prior to marriage but the couple built a house together and raised children there, some of the equity becomes marital property.
Equitable distribution standard
With this standard, the court decides on a fair division of assets and debts that accounts for each spouse’s current and future financial situation. When a couple cannot agree on how to divide land, real estate and other assets, they can ask the judge to decide. However, the judge may order them to sell the homestead and divide the proceeds.
Considerations in land division
In addition to establishing whether land holdings are separate or marital property, the couple should also consider:
- Hiring an expert to provide a current land value
- Dividing acreage equally
- Having one partner buy out a share of the other partner’s equity in the land, based on financial and household contributions
- Keeping the land as an investment and agreeing to divide it in the future
Other considerations vary depending on land use. For example, the couple may live on the land, own a farm or otherwise conduct business on the property. They may also have existing business or premarital agreements that dictate land division in a divorce.