How Do I Find Assets In Minnesota Divorce Proceedings?

When you get divorced in Minnesota, the Court will divide marital assets and debts.  The statute requires that this be done “equitably.”  Equitably usually means “equally,” but not necessarily.  As long as the asset division is fairly equal, Court consider that to be close enough. 

Many people ask about how they can find assets that a spouse may be hiding.  There are several ways to do this.

First, I advise people to make copies of various documents.  Ideally, this should be done in the several months leading up to a divorce.  These documents include tax returns, paycheck stubs, check book ledgers, account statements, and credit card statements.  Often one can find relevant information about hidden assetes in these records.  For example, there may be a transfer made from a known account to an unknown account that is reflected on an account statement.  A tax return may contain an entry for earned interest that does not appear on any known account statements.

In Minnesota, the Rules of Civil Procedure apply to divorce proceedings.  The rules provide for something called “discovery,” which is the formal process of compelling an opposing party to provide information and documentation.  One can require the party to answer, under oath, written interrogatories (written questions) and these questions usually include questions about income, assets and debts.  One can require the party to respond to a request for production of documents, stating the type of documents sought.  The other side then has 30 days to produce copies of the documents.  One can also take the deposition of the opposing party, and one can take the deposition of anyone else who might have information that is relevant to the divorce.  One can take the deposition of a representative of a bank, for example, in order to obtain copies of bank statements or canceled checks.  Depending upon what information you need, there is probably a way to obtain it.

Daniel Fiskum is a Minnesota divorce attorney who has been practicing since 1992. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and has been named a "Super Lawyer" by the Minnesota Journal of Law and Politics. Mr. Fiskum is currently writing a book for attorneys and non-attorneys entitled "The Streetfighter's Guide to Divorce," which is scheduled for publication in May, 2010. Many of his blog entries will appear in the book. You may contact attorney Fiskum directly at (952) 270-7700. His office is located in the Carlson Towers in Minnetonka, Minnesota. The Fiskum Law website is found at www.fiskumlaw.com.

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