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What is the difference between “marital” and “non-marital” property?

This is a question that I get all of the time, please read below for some overall guidance:

According to Minnesota Statue § 518.003, Subd. 3(b), there is a presumption that all assets acquired during the marriage, including real and personal property, are marital, regardless of whether the property is owned individually or jointly by the spouses.  Therefore, almost anything that is acquired during the marriage is considered part of the marriage and “marital” property as far as the divorce and division of property goes.

On the other hand, non-marital property is property that is acquired before the marriage. In addition, non-marital property can also include gifts given by a third-party or inheritance to one spouse but not the other.

It can be difficult to determine whether a particular asset has marital or non-marital characteristics.  For example, if one spouse is given a monetary gift, but he or she decides to co-mingle the money, it can often become a marital asset.  The person claiming the property to be a non-marital asset has the burden to prove its non-marital character.

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