Property Division

Help With Equitable Distribution in Marital Asset Division image

One of the most common concerns during a divorce is how assets and debts will be divided. Who will get the house? Is the pension an asset? How will joint bank accounts be divided? Who will be responsible for mortgage or credit card debt? Will I be financially secure after the divorce?

These are important questions, and at my Dakota County law firm, I, Deborah N. Dewalt, help clients find answers. Minnesota statutes require a fair and equitable property division in a divorce. As a Minnesota lawyer and family law neutral since 1985, I understand that most clients want to move from the statute's requirements to the list of assets and debts that will be awarded to them.

Information and organization are the first tasks in a step-by-step process to resolving property and debt division.

Some of the assets might be nonmarital property in whole or in part. In general, nonmarital property is returned to the original owner and is not subject to division in a divorce. Nonmarital property includes assets owned prior to the marriage or inherited during the marriage. Minnesota law defines certain types of growth in the value of a nonmarital asset as marital and other types as marital. Part of my work with you to determine the extent of any nonmarital assets might involve complex analyses of factual and legal issues regarding nonmarital claims.

Once the marital property is identified, there can also be valuation issues regarding them. For some assets, a monthly statement definitively establishes their value. For others, an expert opinion might be helpful, for example, a house appraisal. Deciding which assets need expert analysis and which don't — which expert to use — evaluating the expert's opinion — these are all parts of your case with which I will help you to reach that final list of assets to be awarded to you.

The division of debt may also involve issues beyond identifying the responsible person and the balance. During the height of the recession, for some families the issue was what to do with overwhelming debt that neither party could pay. In other cases, the issue might be the inter-relationship of monthly debt payments with a request for spousal maintenance.

Clarifying Your Goals And Needs

No matter whether your case is straightforward or complex, a part of the property division is asking for a property package that will be useful to you in the future. Do you have short-term and long-term goals? Are you uncertain and need a property package that supports several different options? I will help you clarify what's important and helpful to you in the property division.

I will also help you prioritize your requests so that what is most important for you receives the most advocacy and does not get lost in negotiations or trial testimony about other less important issues.

Sometimes clients and attorneys benefit from receiving objective feedback about the financial issues in a divorce early in the case development. In those circumstances, it can be helpful to use an out-of-court process called Financial Early Neutral Evaluation (FENE) to assess the potential strengths and weaknesses of a case before it reaches trial.

Arrange a Free Initial Consultation

For strong representation and counsel about divorce and property division matters, you can count on me, Deborah N. Dewalt, Attorney at Law. Call my Burnsville office locally at 952-641-7455 or toll free at 866-919-7417. I return all messages as soon as possible. You can also contact my firm online.