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Dividing Assets and Property in a Michigan Divorce

 Posted on November 29, 2021 in Family Law

Oakland County Property Distribution LawyerMichigan is an equitable distribution (as opposed to community property) state. In a community property system, all marital property is divided right down the middle, regardless of contributions. Under equitable distribution, marital assets are divided up into just portions, taking many factors into consideration. This process includes a three-step process of identifying, valuing, and dividing the assets and liabilities.


The first step in division of assets in a divorce is identifying and classifying all the assets and liabilities acquired during the marriage. This is not always as straightforward as it sounds. This includes not only tangible assets such as homes, cars, bank accounts, and retirement funds, but also intangible assets such as business goodwill and household services.

Once identified, the asset must be classified as either marital or nonmarital property. Although most assets acquired during the marriage will likely be deemed as marital, there are some exceptions:

  • Assets acquired before the marriage

  • Assets excluded by a prenuptial agreement

  • Assets acquired by one spouse as a gift (including inheritance)

  • Assets acquired by one spouse after a legal separation

  • Assets transferred by judgment from one spouse against the other


Once all the assets and liabilities have been identified and classified, they must then be valued. Some of the marital property will require a professional valuation, such as real estate. Once this is complete, the total amount of all the assets is the total amount of the marital estate that will be distributed between the spouses.


The division of the marital estate is the most difficult and most complex step. The parties must agree on how much each spouse contributed to the growth or the waste of the marital assets. If they cannot reach an agreement, the court will do that for them.

Some of the factors that may go into these decisions include:

  • Weighing one spouse’s household service (if they were the stay-at-home parent) against the other spouse’s primary earner status

  • Each spouse’s spending and saving habits

  • Age of each spouse

  • Health of each spouse

  • Education level of each spouse

  • Work experience of each spouse

Many of the above factors also come into play when determining whether or not there should be any spousal support ordered.

Contact a Novi, MI Divorce Attorney

If you are considering a divorce and have assets and property that will need to be divided, you want to ensure you have a dedicated and experienced Oakland County asset division lawyer representing your best interest in any divorce negotiations and settlement agreements. Call Elkouri Heath, PLC today at 248-344-9700 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out what legal options you may have for ending your marriage.




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