At the end of a marriage, hurt feelings and other emotions are often at play. As such, it can be difficult for divorcing spouses to effectively communicate with each other and negotiate settlements. This can make the division of property, which is often one of the most contentious aspects of a divorce, all the more complicated. In cases when Michigan couples cannot reach an agreement on their own, the decision typically falls to the courts if there is not a prenuptial agreement already in place.
In general, property can be separated into two categories for the purposes of property division Michigan divorces - marital property and separate property. The assets that are earned and acquired by a couple over the course of their marriage are generally considered marital property. This can include homes and other real estate, vehicles, earnings and artwork, among other assets. Separate property is those assets that each spouse brings with them into their marriage. Certain properties acquired by spouses during their marriage, such as inheritances, may also be categorized as separate property.
With few exceptions, the division of marital property in the state of Michigan is done in accordance with the rule of equitable distribution. Often, people mistake this to mean that each spouse must receive an equal share of their marital property. However, equitable distribution actually requires that a couple’s assets must be fairly divided between the two spouses. As a result, each spouse may not receive equal shares. Under Section 552.401 of the Michigan Compiled Laws, separate property may also be subject to the division of property and assets process if the other spouse contributed to the accumulation, improvement or acquisition of the property.
There are a number of factors that may be considered by Michigan courts when determining the appropriate division of property. Often, the duration of the marriage, the needs of each spouse and any children, and the future earning capacities of each spouse are considered. Additionally, the reason for the divorce may also be taken into consideration.
When dealing with the division of property and assets in Michigan divorces, it is important to keep in mind that each case is unique. Therefore, this post should be considered general information, and not be taken as professional legal advice.