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Protecting Your Assets in a Michigan Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Oakland County Divorce LawyerOne of the biggest stresses when going through a divorce is what will the financial outcome be and how will that outcome affect your financial future. In Michigan, just like most states, marital assets are distributed using the equitable division standard. This does not mean the outcome is necessarily “equal” but that the division is done based on circumstances in the couple’s case in the most equitable way possible.

In many marriages, one spouse is usually more involved in handling the couple’s finances and this can mean that the other spouse may not be fully aware of the details of all of the marital assets and debts. In some cases, even the spouse who does oversee all the finances may not realize all the specific details of the martial estate. This is why no matter what your position is in your marriage, it is a good idea to create a property and asset division checklist in order to understand exactly which assets and debts qualify as marital and which ones qualify as separate.

Marital Assets

A property checklist can help identify all of the assets in your marriage and decide which category they should be in. It is not uncommon for each spouse’s property checklist to look different than the other spouse’s. This is where your divorce attorney can help ensure that your marital rights are protected, and you receive what you are entitled to in the final divorce settlement.

Some of the categories that may be in your property checklist include the following:

  • Real estate: This includes the marital home, rental properties, vacation homes, commercial property, and any land that is undeveloped you and your spouse own

  • Financial assets: This includes any financial accounts you and your spouse have such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, pensions, life insurance policies, and cash

  • Business assets: This includes any ownership interests, as well as any company assets

  • Personal property: This includes vehicles, home furnishings, jewelry, electronics, and collections

In addition to the assets a couple has, each spouse should also make a list of all the debt they have.

Once the property division checklist and list of debts are completed, the next step is to determine if the asset is a marital asset or a separate asset. Any marital assets are required to be included in the distribution of assets in the divorce. If the asset was purchased prior to the marriage and is clearly a separate asset, then it is not included in the marital estate. In some cases, an asset may have been purchased by one spouse prior to the marriage, but the other spouse has contributed a significant amount of money towards the property. The court may then deem the property as a marital asset because of those contributions. 

Many of the assets on the property division checklist will need to be professionally appraised in order to determine current value. Once all of this is complete, you and your attorney, along with your spouse and their attorney, will begin the negotiation process to determine who gets what assets. Ideally, both parties are able to reach a fair agreement. If they are not, the court will decide for them how marital assets and debt will be distributed.

Let a Farmington Hills Divorce Lawyer Help

Going through a divorce is stressful enough without the complex process of trying to figure out how assets should be divided between you and your spouse. Having a seasoned Novi, MI divorce attorney by your side can make all the difference in the final outcome of asset and property settlements. Call Elkouri Heath, PLC at 248-344-9700 today to schedule a free and confidential consultation.




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