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Equitable vs. equal

The end of a marriage in Clinton Township marks the beginning of the process of dividing assets between both sides. Many have come to us here at The Law Office of Lorrie J. Zahodnic, P.C. with several incorrect assumptions about property division. Unless you are familiar with family law, you likely share the same misperceptions. They typically all come down to the assumption that all property acquired during a marriage must be split equally. Yet that is not always the case. 

Given the language used to describe property division, it is easy to understand why you may be confused. Marital property is often classified as being community property. Community property refers is anything acquired (both assets and debts) by you and your spouse during your marriage. Joint ownership of the property is assumed, thus entitling each of you to a 50 percent stake in it. However, the Repeal of Community Property Act ended the application of this principle in Michigan. Thus, any property you and your spouse have acquired is not viewed as community property, and therefore is subject to equitable division. 

It is easy to assume that the words "equitable" and "equal" are the same, when in fact they are not. Equitable property division requires that whatever you and your spouse receive from your divorce proceedings be fair according to your individual contributions to the marriage. It some cases, it may indeed be equal (such as in the ownership of your marital home, if you purchased it together). Yet say your spouse acquired significant consumer debt during your time together. The court may determine that, in fairness, he or she be made responsible for it given that he or she was the one who accrued it. 

More information on equitable property division can be found here on our site. 

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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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