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Property division is more than deciding who gets the house

Going through a divorce means that you will have to work with your ex to determine asset division. This property division process isn't always easy. In fact, it is often very complex since you can't focus only on big ticket items. You have to divide up everything.

Here are some points you should consider as you work on trying to negotiate with your ex:

Michigan law

Michigan is an equitable distribution state. This means that you and your ex will divide things based on what is fair. The division doesn't have to be equal.

Michigan considers several factors to determine property division. These include the length of the marriage, where the property came from, what is best for the children, and what led to the divorce. What you and your ex need and each person's earning capacity also come into the picture.

Assets to divide

It is easy to get caught up in who gets the house and the vehicles, but don't let this overtake other assets. You will also have to think about who gets the artwork, furniture, kitchen items, appliances and other similar items. You also need to think about any investments that are present. This includes retirement accounts and similar financial accounts.

Debts also matter

The debts that you and your ex accumulated during the marriage also need to be divided. In some cases, these can be used to make the asset division a bit more fair. You must realize here that creditors don't have to abide by the terms of your divorce. Instead, they can still hold you liable for joint accounts if your ex doesn't pay as ordered by the divorce settlement documents.

Long-term implications

As you work on dividing up the property, don't focus only on what will make your life easier today or what is going to make your ex the most miserable. Instead, think about the long-term implications of the decisions you are making.

Larger ticket items, such as the house or car, can come with considerable expenses down the road. Think about whether you are able to afford these on your income alone. Essentially, if an asset is going to cause you financial grief or stress, it might be best to let it go.

You have to think about yourself during this process. Keeping the focus on what you need and what is important to you can help you as you try to negotiate the divorce settlement.

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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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