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Are my assets better protected if my spouse caused the divorce?

You own a flourishing business and enjoy many high-value marital assets such as a house that you worked hard for. Now your spouse has filed for divorce, saying that she has fallen in love with someone else. Or maybe you are the one to file because your spouse has become someone you do not recognize. In any case, you feel that the divorce is your spouse's fault, so does that better protect your high-value assets, giving you an increased shot at retaining them?

The answer is no when the divorce is contested. This is because Minnesota practices no-fault divorces. Regardless of who the fingers are pointing at, judges must decide asset division in an equitable way. You do still have options for an uncontested divorce.

Agreement between the two of you

Your spouse may be perfectly happy with not putting up a fight for your business and some other high-value assets. Maybe she just wants a few things. She is not out for blood and desires to minimize your pain because she understands the role she played in the divorce. Your lawyer and your spouse's lawyer need to work together to come up with an agreement that will pass a judge's muster. As long as the agreement leaves your spouse with enough resources that she is in a financially decent situation, a judge may approve it.

What about alimony?

Asset division is one thing, but what about alimony? Surely it is unfair to have to pay alimony to someone who wronged you in a huge and emotional way. Unfortunately, Minnesota judges must not consider spousal conduct (or misconduct) in these determinations. Again, though, if you come to an agreement with your spouse without the case having to go to court, the two of you retain more control over the amount and duration of alimony paid. Consider factors such as length of the marriage, the standard of living, the ability of both spouses to earn incomes and any seniority or retirement benefits the spouses may have forfeited during the marriage.

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