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Separate property protections and Michigan divorce

The commitment involved for a successful marriage in Michigan often leads couples to willingly share the possessions and assets that they owned before they made their vows. However, once a divorce is on the horizon, a spouse may re-evaluate that decision, hoping to regain the items in question. MichiganLegalHelp.org explains that if the court considers an asset to be marital property, it will be divided equitably according to the state’s property division law, but it may not divide assets that have remained separate.

Money that is deposited in a joint account during the marriage, or commingled, is not protected in the divorce. Likewise, neither is an increase in an asset’s value if this is due to actions such as a deposit deriving from the couple’s joint account. In order to keep the property separate, the spouse who owns it would need to prevent its accessibility by maintaining it in a personal account, as well as avoiding any improvements that may result from the contribution of other marital assets.

Even separate property may be subject to division if the judge determines that the non-owning spouse and children require support that can be provided by the property. Fair treatment is the goal, and according to the Michigan Bar Journal, this is attained by applying the principles of equitable division. Preventing any changes at all to an asset throughout the marital relationship may be one way of ensuring its protection in a divorce. The court may also honor the intentions of the spouses if they have an agreement that they would each maintain their separate property throughout the marriage. 

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Lorrie J. Zahodnic

"I will hold you up until you can stand on your own two feet."

Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. has provided skilled and compassionate legal guidance to Michiganders in family law matters for over 20 years.

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