How will our property be divided during our divorce in Michigan?
Making the decision to file for divorce is never an easy one, and often a main concern of divorcing couples is how the family’s property will be divided. Family assets could include the marital home, retirement and pension plans, businesses, rental property, and more. Deciding who should get what is always a challenge, and if the divorce is contentious, it can get all the more acrimonious. Having an experienced Michigan property division lawyer will prove vital to ensure your interests are represented to the fullest extent.
Equitable Distribution is Not Always Equal
In Michigan, marital property is divided according to the rules of equitable distribution. Equal distribution is the division of community property in a fair manner. Fair does not necessarily translate to a fifty-fifty split. Rather, a court will consider several factors to reach a fair division, including:
- Length of the marriage;
- Needs of each party;
- Needs of the children;
- Earning powers of each party;
- Source of the property;
- Where the funds for property acquisition came from; and
- The cause of the divorce, including the fault of either party.
This list is not exhaustive and a court can consider other factors that it finds relevant under the circumstances.
Separate Property vs. Marital Property
Not all property will be subject to equitable division. A vital step towards dividing your family property will be determining what property is marital, and subject to the laws of equitable distribution, and what should be considered separate property. In the event of a divorce, separate property will go back to its individual owner. Marital property includes any assets or property acquired during the marriage, which may include homes, cars, furniture, artwork, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and more. Separate property, on the other hand, is property earned or received before the marriage or an inheritance received during the marriage, but kept in a separate account. Property division is a complex and high-stakes matter, so consult with a divorce attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights.