Going through a divorce can feel like your world is crumbling down around you. Major questions arise about how your assets will be divided, including who will get to keep your home.
This family house is full of memories and often represents one of the biggest assets a couple owns. With so much on the line, it’s normal to feel anxious about the fate of your property.
There are no easy answers, but understanding the key factors courts consider can help you reach the best resolution.
Is Your Home Considered Marital or Separate Property?
The first question is whether your home is deemed marital or nonmarital property. In general, assets acquired during the marriage are marital property subject to division. This includes your house if you bought it while married.
However, there are a few exceptions:
- If one spouse owned the home prior to marriage, it may be considered non-marital.
- Gifts or inheritances used as a down payment could sway the court.
- Improvements made with nonmarital funds may affect the decision.
The timing and source of funds to obtain the house matter. An experienced Minneapolis divorce lawyer can help gather documentation to prove your home’s status.
How Do Courts Divide Marital Assets in Minnesota?
Minnesota is an “equitable distribution” state. This means marital property is divided equitably based on the circumstances, but not necessarily 50/50.
Some factors judges consider include:
- Length of the marriage
- Contributions to acquiring assets
- Caring for home and family
- Income and earning potential
- Health and age
The court looks at the big picture to make a just division. There’s no set formula. Your lawyer can argue why you should keep the home by presenting evidence on these factors.
Does Keeping the House Benefit Minor Children?
If you have kids at home, judges often consider stability and what’s best for the children. Disrupting their routine by making them move may sway the court to let the custodial parent keep the house.
But this isn’t guaranteed. The judge weighs many competing factors. How children may affect the division of property can be addressed by an experienced lawyer.
Can You and Your Spouse Agree Out of Court?
Reaching a settlement means you control the outcome rather than leaving it to a judge. We find most clients prefer compromising instead of litigating.
And courts readily approve fair agreements between spouses. This allows you to craft creative solutions like:
- One spouse buying out the other’s share
- Selling and splitting proceeds
- Transferring the house and offsetting with other assets
Settling out of court brings flexibility but requires negotiation skills. A lawyer can assist you in working towards an agreement.
What If You Can’t Agree? Understanding Your Options
If you and your spouse can’t agree, the judge will impose a resolution after a trial. Typically, this means:
- Ordering the house sold and proceeds divided
- Letting one spouse keep the home and granting other assets to the other
- Forcing the spouse who keeps the house to make an offsetting payment
The court has broad discretion in equitably dividing all marital property. Don’t assume you’ll automatically get to keep the family home. A family law attorney can advise you on the reality you may face at trial if settling seems impossible.
Turn to a Knowledgeable Divorce Lawyer for Guidance
Dividing marital assets like your home is complicated. Emotions often run high when the family house needs to be divided. Having an experienced Minnesota divorce attorney on your side levels the playing field.
The Minneapolis divorce lawyers at Martine Law have helped many couples through this difficult process. Their team offers skilled guidance and advocacy to protect your rights. Contact them today to schedule a consultation.