Division of Assets
Any property or debt accumulated during the marriage, which may include homes, cars, and other assets, is considered marital property or property that belongs to both parties. According to Michigan law, property is subject to division if it falls under one of four categories:
- Property whose acquisition, improvement or accumulation resulted from the contributions of the non-owning spouse (MCL 552.401).
- A court may award one spouse a “just and reasonable” share of the other spouse’s separate property if the marital property awarded to the recipient is “insufficient for the suitable support” of that party and any children in his or her custody (MCL 552.23).
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- Property which shall have come to either party by reason of the marriage (MCL 552. 19).
- Vested retirement benefits earned during the marriage and unvested retirement benefits earned during the marriage where just and equitable (MCL 552.18).
What is considered Marital Property?
Typical examples of marital property include:
- Bank, investment and brokerage account
- Pensions and retirement plans
- Homes, including vacation homes
- Household furniture and furnishings
- Stock and stock options
- Business and partnership interests
Non-marital property includes:
- Gifts, including those acquired by legacy or descent
- Property acquired in exchange for premarital property or in exchange for a gift
- Property acquired after a legal separation
- Any property specifically excluded by agreement between the parties
- All property acquired before the marriage was created.
In a divorce, how the marital property is divided between the parties must be determined through the process of property division.
How is Marital Property Divided?
Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which demonstrates that there are no rigid formulas in determining marital property between both parties. Instead, the court must use its discretion to determine what is equitable under the circumstances.
The following factors are to be considered and taken as a whole when determining equitable distribution:
- Duration of the marriage
- Age of the parties
- Health of the parties
- Necessities and circumstances of the parties
- Earning capabilities of the parties
- Life status of the parties
- Past relations and conduct leading to the breakdown of the marriage
- Contribution to the marital estate.
Every couple’s situation is unique. Before you take action, call ADAM 810-244-2326 for an upfront evaluation of what your divorce may cost you.