Valuation and Division of Marital Property

The division of marital property can be a complex process particularly in certain situations:

  • The valuation of a professional practice or closely held business
  • Complex valuation issues such as stock options or antiques
  • Exercise of primary control by one spouse over assets or other financial holdings
  • A spouse hiding or “wasting” marital assets
  • Division of substantial or difficult to value assets

Michigan family law attorney Don McGuigan understands that the way your assets and debts are divided and the duration and amount of alimony awarded will have an enormous impact on your ability to rebuild a firm financial future with your children. While Don often is able to develop a workable property division arrangement with the other party, the judge will make orders as part of the division of marital property, which is property that both spouses own, when such an agreement cannot be reached. Michigan is unique in that it is the only state in the country that does not have a statute that defines precisely what is considered marital property.

In Michigan, the characterization of property as marital is based on case law. This can make the process of determining whether something is marital property complicated. Generally, property will not be considered marital property if any of the following apply:

  • Property was acquired prior to the marriage
  • Gifts including those acquired by inheritance
  • Property acquired after a legal separation
  • Any property that the parties expressly exclude from marital property by written agreement

While these rules may seem straightforward, the process can be extremely complex when dealing with assets that have the mixed character of both marital and non-marital property. It is not uncommon for couples to move into a home owned by one spouse prior to the marriage. While the home may have initially been non-marital property because it was acquired prior to the marriage, its characterization may change if the mortgage payments were made from funds earned during the marriage. Homes appreciating in value during a marriage present ever more complex issues since a determination must be made as to how much of the appreciated value resulted from contributions made during the marriage. Contributions to a retirement plan made during marriage also require a complex calculation of marital property and non-marital property interests based on both principal contributions during the marriage and increases in value based on those contributions.

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24750 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48033
| Phone: 248-356-9100

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24750 Lahser Road, Southfield, MI 48033 | Phone: 248-356-9100