Legal Memorandum: Value of Nonmarital Property

Issue: Is Appreciation from a 401k Account Earned While not Working Nonmarital Property to a Stay-at-Home Mother?

Area of Law: Family Law
Keywords: Stay-at-home mother; 401k Account earned; Passive appreciation in value of nonmarital property
Jurisdiction: Minnesota
Cited Cases: 414 N.W.2d 184; 521 N.W.2d 874; 615 N.W.2d 405
Cited Statutes: None
Date: 04/01/2006


  • Chamberlain v. Chamberlain, 615 N.W.2d 405 (Minn. Ct. App. 2000) (while passive appreciation of the value of a nonmarital asset remains nonmarital, the trial court did not abuse its discretion in awarding wife marital property in an amount corresponding to income from an investment actively managed by the husband)
  • Affeldt-Boetcher v. Boetcher, No. C9-99-1211 (Minn. Ct. App. Apr. 18, 2000) (“passive appreciation in value of nonmarital property is . . . nonmarital in nature”)
  • Vanasek v. Vanasek, No. C3-99-68 (Minn. Ct. App. Aug. 31, 1999) (husband’s premarital retirement account did not lose its nonmarital character to become marital property merely because it was subject to joint, active decision-making by both parties)
  • Somody-Parks v. Parks, No. C5-96-686 (Minn. Ct. App. Nov. 26, 1996) (husband was entitled to original nonmarital retirement account plus appreciation in value)
  • White v. White, 521 N.W.2d 874, 878 (Minn. Ct. App. 1994) (increase in value of nonmarital property during marriage remains nonmarital if it is “attributable solely to market forces or conditions, such as simply appreciation in value of an asset”)
  • Nardini v. Nardini, 414 N.W.2d 184 (Minn. 1987) (same)


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