Proving a Non-Marital Claim May Not Be As Hard As You Think

July 8, 2015

In Minnesota, if a divorcing party is able to prove that property is that individual’s “non-marital” property (i.e., was brought into the marriage or was a gift or inheritance to one but not both of the parties), that property is typically not subject to division in the divorce and will be awarded to the individual who proves the property is non-marital.

A spouse seeking to claim non-marital property must prove the non-marital character by a preponderance of the evidence, meaning you must prove it is more likely than not that the asset is non-marital. While it is important and helpful to have documents and other “objective” evidence to support your non-marital claim, a non-marital claim can be proved by establishing the non-marital characteristics by credible testimony. This means that if a court finds the testimony of the person claiming non-marital property to be credible and reliable, the testimony in and of itself can be sufficient to support the non-marital claim.

The credibility of the parties is essential. If a party’s testimony is not credible, then a court is not as likely to believe the non-marital claim-especially if it comes down to “he said, she said.” If the property is not considered by the court to be non-marital, then it will be considered marital property and divided equitably by the court-resulting in a substantially different outcome.

This information is general in nature and should not be construed as tax or legal advice.