Property Division Made Easy During Your Minneapolis Divorce

One of the challenges couples face during their Minneapolis divorce is property division. Most people equally divide the property they have accumulated during the marriage relationship.  This is what most people in a relationship consider fair. This is also what usually happens in almost every state as well as Canada and Europe when a marriage partnership ends. There are still a few States in the deep south where courts can award an unequal division of property based upon who was at fault for the breakup and who’s efforts accumulated more property, but most of the rest of the world finds fairness in equal division of assets.


Why Mediation is Different

However, when people are sitting in mediation, an equal division is what usually results, even though some couples have decided an unequal division is fair for them and their own circumstances.  (Even in those small number of cases where an unequal division is decided, it is often 45%/55% or 60%/40% so the variation is not that great.)  The vast majority of people divide their property equally because that is what any good family law attorney will tell their client, and what seems fair to most people.

Valuation of assets

To determine  whether the division is equal or unequal, the dollar value of what something is worth is used.  Although values for houses, autos and businesses are often hard to come by, most assets can be valued by a statement relating to the account. Most assets like bank accounts, investments, retirement accounts  (and don’t forget debts) have a document or a statement that proves their existence. Documents are always necessary for the work of trying to decide an equal division.  Other than household items, any asset that exists that has value should have documentation to support its value.

How mediation helps

Once value is determined, this is where our mediator’s experience and skill can be helpful.  It is important to start with a listing of the property assets. This is done together in the room for a several reasons. First, the picture of the marital estate is created together, then both marriage partners own the result.  Sitting together is also more efficient than having each attorney create the information and then sending draft versions back and forth.

This listing serves as a basis for the final division. For example, if the net worth of a couple is  determined by the documents or appraisals to be $200,000, then as close as possible, it would be desirable for both to end up with a net worth of $100,000. 

The division usually occurs last, after the entire marital estate has been tabulated and agreed upon.  Then it is more easier to see what the choices are as well as the problems which will be discussed in Part 2 of this ongoing series.