Married couples often give one another gifts — some more expensive than others. Anything gifted during a marriage will be seen as marital property in the case of a divorce. Minnesota couples considering divorce may be surprised to find that decisions regarding marital gifts may be more complex than expected.
The way courts view gifts may depend on when the gift was given. Gifts gifted before the wedding, including an engagement ring, are not considered as marital property, as they were given outside the marriage. However, if any of these gifts, especially jewelry, have been changed or improved while the couple was married, the way it is viewed changes. Gifts improved or changed are seen as marital property and can be included in the assets to be split between the divorcing partners.
The aforementioned is not always true. Different states have different policies on the division of the marital property. Some states are seen as kitchen sink states, where all property, even separate property, becomes part of the marital property. Others are called dual classification states.
In these states, the sole property of one of the partners will not be considered as part of the marital property. Minnesota allows for circumstantial inclusions. In states allowing for circumstantial inclusion, property belonging solely to one spouse may be included in the marital property, should one of the parties be considered in a situation of need.
Division of marital property is a complex and intricate issue. Anyone in the midst of a divorce may benefit from consulting with an experienced Minnesota attorney to ensure that his or her assets are protected and that the division of property is fair. The advice provided by an attorney can empower the party to ensure that fairness in the division of property is ensured.