Throughout your marriage, you and your spouse will likely accumulate various assets, including high value assets (e.g., your home). However, if you decide to get a divorce, the property distribution process can become complicated, particularly if you do not have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement in place.
Community property v. equitable distribution
Each state follows their own laws when determining how to divide up the marital property in a divorce.
Marital property is generally any property acquired by the couple during the marriage. Separate property, or property belonging to only one spouse or acquired by one spouse prior to marriage, can become marital property if the other spouse contributes to the property. For example, if the marital home is in one spouse’s name but marital funds are used to renovate the property, it may then be considered marital property.
Many states, including Michigan, are classified as equitable distribution states where marital property is divided fairly and equitably between the spouses. It is up to the court to decide what is considered “fair and equitable.” In Michigan, the courts may consider several factors when making this determination including:
- Duration of the marriage.
- Ages and health of each spouse.
- Income earned by each spouse and each spouse’s potential to earn income in the future.
- Whether the couple has minor children and the children’s needs.
- Each spouse’s financial and non-financial contributions during the marriage.
Many people have certain assets that they would like to walk away with in the divorce. Our office can help you determine a property division that is fair and means the most to you.