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Is my spouse entitled to my investments during divorce?

On Behalf of | May 28, 2024 | Divorce

Navigating the division of assets during a divorce can be complex, especially when it comes to investments. In Michigan, specific laws determine how these assets are divided between spouses.

Marital versus separate assets

Michigan law differentiates between marital and separate assets. Marital assets include any property, investments or businesses acquired during the marriage. Conversely, separate assets are those owned by one spouse before the marriage or received individually as a gift or inheritance.

Stocks are considered marital assets if they were acquired during the marriage. This means that these stocks are subject to division in a divorce, regardless of which spouse’s name is on the account.

Division of personal stocks

The goal in dividing stocks, like other marital assets, is to achieve an equitable – meaning fair — distribution of property. Several factors influence what is deemed fair, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s financial situation, their needs and the origin of the property. The couple can come together to make decisions, and if they can agree on how to divide their property, a judge will usually agree to their division, so long as it meets state guidelines for fairness.

Exceptions to the rule

There are exceptions where stocks may not be classified as marital assets. Stocks acquired before the marriage may be considered separate assets. Likewise, stocks received as a gift or inheritance by one spouse alone are usually separate property.

However, separate property can sometimes be intermingled with marital property. This can happen if separate assets are mixed with marital assets. For example, if an inheritance is used to purchase stocks during the marriage, those stocks might be treated as marital assets. And, if you received a dividend from inherited stocks and used those dividends to purchase more stocks, the additional stocks may likely be considered marital property.
It’s also important to note that when a separately owned investment rises in value during the marriage, this added value may be considered part of the marital property.


Whether personal stocks are subject to division in a Michigan divorce hinges on several factors. These include the timing and manner of acquisition. Understanding these distinctions is crucial for navigating the asset division process in a divorce, but keep in mind that you can resolve these, and all issues, prior to a divorce filing using Alternative Dispute Resolution methods. If you’d to learn more about the various processes for obtaining a divorce, contact our office for a free consultation.