Legal Memorandum: Nonmarital Property

Issue: What is nonmarital property and does it include interest earned from assets?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Nonmarital property; Interest earned from assets
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 753 N.W.2d 644; 414 N.W.2d 184
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 03/01/2010

Even in a case where one spouse’s prowess, profession, or other basis generates the parties’ substantial property, it must be remembered that

marriage is a joint enterprise whose vitality, success and endurance is dependent upon the conjunction of multiple components, only one of which is financial.  “[T]he extent to which each of the parties contributes to the marriage is not measurable only by the amount of money contributed to it during the period of its endurance but, rather, by the whole complex of financial and non-financial components contributed,  The function of equitable distribution is to recognize that when a marriage ends, each of the spouses, based on the totality of the contributions made to it, has a stake in and right to a share of the marital assets accumulated while it endured . . ..”

Nardini v. Nardini, 414 N.W.2d 184, 192 (Minn. 1987) (citation omitted) quoted in Baker v. Baker, 753 N.W.2d 644, 650 (Minn. 2008). And, as the Baker court observed, the “effort expended to generate property during the marriage—that is ‘marital effort’—should benefit both parties rather than one of the parties to the exclusion of the other.”  Id.


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