Differentiating Between Separate and Marital Property During a Michigan DivorceOften, one of the most contentious issues during a divorce is asset division. When two people marry, they join their lives not only personally, but also financially. Undoing the intertwining of two people’s finances can quickly become complicated – especially if the couple owns complex assets such as a family business, stock options, retirement accounts, or investment real estate. If you plan to divorce and you live in Michigan, a qualified family law attorney can help you understand your options for property division under Michigan law.

Marital Property Is Property Accumulated During the Marriage

Before the marital estate can be divided during a divorce, courts must determine what property is separate and what property is marital. Generally, separate or non-marital properties include funds or assets which a spouse acquired before getting married. For example, if a wife collected an assortment of fine art before she married her husband, it would likely be considered separate property and not subject to division during divorce. Marital property, on the other hand, typically includes any assets accumulated during the marriage. However, there are exceptions to these general rules. According to Michigan case law, assets accumulated while the couple was living together but not formally married may be considered separate property or part of the marital estate depending on the specific circumstances of the case.

Michigan Courts Must Divide the Marital Estate “Fairly”

Unlike some other states, Michigan does not simply divide marital property exactly in half during a divorce. Instead, courts consider a variety of factors in order to reach a property division scenario which is equitable, or fair, for both parties. Michigan law asserts that marital property does not need to be divided in such a way that each spouse receives exactly 50 percent of the marital estate. However, the courts do have an obligation to explain any “significant departures from congruence” with regard to the distribution of the marital estate. The length of the marriage, each spouse’s income and overall financial circumstances, the health and needs of each spouse, and other factors may influence the distribution of marital property during divorce.

Contact a Novi Divorce Lawyer

The process of separating your entangled finances during divorce can be stressful and overwhelming. Fortunately, you do not have to face your Michigan divorce alone. Contact Elkouri Heath, PLC, today to speak with an experienced Oakland County family law attorney about your concerns and questions. We can help you explore your legal options and find a course of action that best suits your unique needs. Call our office at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/mcl/pdf/mcl-chap552.pdf

http://www.michbar.org/file/opinions/appeals/2013/012413/53787.pdf