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AlexiaEsq., Managing Attorney
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 13566
Experience:  19+ Years of Legal Practice in Family law matters.
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Im about to go through a divorce. Shes said shes filed,

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I'm about to go through a divorce. She's said she's filed, but she's sending emails to me and her lawyer and our marriage therapist (now mediator) about things to be written up in our divorce decree. I'm waiting to see what the terms are before I seek a lawyer. I believe she wants it to be uncontested so as to save money, and is trying to get things squared away before it's all "written up" and finalized.

I have really 2 major questions here. In Minnesota I've learned that the law states anything before your marriage is yours from property to debt to other concerns. She's saying that I owe her half of a credit card bill that is from our wedding. My name is XXXXX XXXXX on the act. to my knowledge. This card was combined from 3 others to one with 0% interest for 12 months. I know that only one of her cards we put on there was used for the honeymoon... The other 2 are hers from long before we got married. Am I required to pay the 7 grand she says if only one is from our honeymoon?

Dear pops,


Yes, it is true that debts from before a marriage, like assets, are generally separate assets or liabilities of the party who 'owns' them. However, like assets, if you retitle a debt into joint names, they become joint, so they may become marital liabilities to be divided up. Now, Minnesota is an "equitable" distribution state, which may be in your favor if you combined those old debts onto a joint credit card. If the court were to decide this issue, it is free to NOT divide this debt 50/50, but "more" equitably. Thus, if the court found that 70% was hers from before the marriage, combined for simplicity sake, it may feel justified in giving her the bulk of, or all of, her old debt, and only spitting the new debt that you both created, out of 'fairness' and equity. So feel free to share that with her :) If it came down to it, you would have to prove that it was her old debt, so see what you can do about getting proof - that could be the tough part for you. But again, I wouldn't share with her the fact that you may have proof supporting that legal position.


Good luck!




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My Standard and Required Legal Disclaimer. The information given by me here is not legal advice. You should not and may not rely on anything on this website as legal advice and you agree that the nominal price you may voluntarily pay for information here clearly does not pay for any legal advice. I am neither establishing nor accepting an attorney-client relationship with you. You must hire an attorney in your state as a matter of law, in order to receive legal advice and attorney/client relationship and rights. I do not claim to be licensed to practice in the state where this information is being provided or whose law would apply, if any. My licensing credentials are noted in my profile, which you have full access to. As law is always changing, you are recommended to consult with the appropriate legal counsel in your jurisdiction for accurate and complete information. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX a great day.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
When you state, "If the court were to decide this issue, it is free to NOT divide this debt..." What do you mean more specifically " is "FREE" to not divide this debt..."

Then the second question I had was since I was unemployed, my mother, like many other parents, has been helping to support us with things like gas and groceries and eating out. Is any of that money my mother contributed able to be accounted for as my contribution to the marriage and get it "deducted" from her total that she says I owe her? As well as any sweat equity I put in on the bathroom remodeling we did 4 months into the marriage (that consequently led to the split and later divorce because it took to long (3-4 mos.) to finish because I didn't know what I was doing and "bit off more than I could chew" with the project!) As well as the money my mother spent on incidental trips to the store to pick up forgotten items like tile spacers, trowels, paint rollers, etc...?

This question is really the bigger one because if I can use her contributions as "MY INCOME" for the marriage, then I feel maybe I might be able to say to her, Fine! ...take the house, take the car, take your $15k credit card that you say is our wedding costs and drop it! I'm not the one coming out ahead, you are by keeping the house, etc. We just take what we've got in our possession and walk away as is..." etc. Does any of that make sense?

I mean just that, the court equitably divides, which is not the same as equally dividing. It is not obligated to give you half of the marital debt if it doesn't think that would promote fairness.

As for your second question, gifts from your parents to the two of you will likely be a wash. I see no pros or cons in arguing that it is income you provided, at any rate.

Edited by Stephanie O. Joy, Esq. on 11/1/2009 at 10:58 PM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
lol... Thanks much~! Not the answer I was hoping for but an answer nonetheless! Unfortunately it's about a $700-800 "Gift" each month that my mom's out the money then... Something she really couldn't afford, as well as my wife/soon to be ex, knew full well I was paying for gas, groceries, etc. with my mothers credit cards for "emergencies" and took advantage of it and now doesn't care! Like I said, not the answer I was looking for, but answer nonetheless! What a two faced witch!!!

Thanks much
Ehren, tis not necessarily all gloom here... if you believe the moneys from your mom were a loan to you both di
uring the tough times, it would certainly sound reasonable, particularly if your mom could never have afforded such a "gift". Thus, if you can argue that each month she loaned you x via the credit card, and you both jointly owe such a marital debt. At least then you can get her responsible for 1/2, most likely.

Edited by Stephanie O. Joy, Esq. on 11/1/2009 at 11:34 PM EST
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