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Could you be entitled to your ex-spouse's separate property?

The laws that govern the disposition of assets following your divorce in Clinton Township may seem fairly straightforward: Whatever you and your ex-spouse accumulated while together is marital property, while the rest is all separate. Marital property is typically divided equitably, while separate property will usually go whichever one of you bought or earned it. Yet are there instances where you could potentially be entitled to a portion of the proceeds that come in after your ex-spouse sells his or her separate property? 

According to Section 552.401 of Michigan's Compiled Laws, the answer to that question is yes (but only under certain circumstances). Those circumstances are where you are able to show that you contributed to the acquisition, improvement or accumulation of your ex-spouse's property. An example of this may be assets that he or she accumulated while you were still dating. Say that you helped him or her to buy a new car. While he or she might be listed as the owner of the car (and the purchase date one that is prior to your having been married), you may be able to prove that without your support, he never would have been able to afford the vehicle in the first place. 

What about property that you had no hand in acquiring? If your ex-spouse owned a home prior to your marriage that the two of you then lived in while together, the mere fact that it served as your marital homestead could entitle you to a portion of it. This entitlement comes from that assumption that while living there, you no doubt had a hand in the home's improvement and any increases in value that the property may have experienced. 

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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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