As somebody who regularly practices in the area of family and divorce law in Apple Valley MN, I get a lot of different kinds of questions from clients.
Today, I received a question from a client who wanted some general information about a divorce. This person had a lot of different questions child custody, parenting time, and basic divorce issues. I felt that the client knew a fair amount about the things I was telling her.
Then, we started discussing marital assets.
At first I was told by the client that she did not have any marital assets. After a little prying we discovered that yes, there were some assets in the marriage. For instance, whether or not you each drive your own cars doesn’t mean they aren’t marital assets. If your name is on the title of a vehicle driven by your spouse then, yes, that is a marital asset.
Furthermore, this client and I started discussing each spouse’s respective retirement accounts. My client said something like “I have mine and he has his.” Ok, that is fair, but my questions was “when were they accrued?” In other words: did the retirement benefits grow while you were married? If the answer is “yes”, then the accrued benefits are marital assets subject to division in a divorce.
I am not trying to pick on this person. What I am trying to do is to illustrate the point that, when going through a divorce in Apple Valley MN or somewhere else, people are not lawyers are often confused about the real meaning of what is and what is not a marital asset.
Often my answers to clients come as somewhat of a shock. I feel a little bad about it, but my job is to explain the law. So, let there be no confusion: if money is accrued between the time when you are actually married and the time you file for divorce, that money is a marital asset and each person (presumably) gets half.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Don’t shoot the messenger.