The best way to divide property during a divorce is to come to an agreement amongst yourselves. If both parties are agreeable, with the help of their legal counsel and possibly a mediator they can easily distribute the assets in a way that is fair and satisfies both parties. If not, then the court will decide what is fair and equitable to both parties.
Divorce laws vary by state, but Michigan follows equitable distribution, meaning that a judge is the one who will decide what is equitable and fair. Rather than drawing a line down the middle of a property and cutting it, the judge may look at the total assets, spousal earnings that contributed to the assets, child rearing responsibilities and fault for the breakdown of the marriage.
Types of Property
In a marriage there are several types of property that must be divided. Property includes both assets and liabilities that were brought into the marriage or acquired together.
- Marital property: This property was jointly accumulated during the marriage. Most property is marital property, unless proven to be separate property.
- Separate property: As the name indicates, this is property that is held individually. This property could have been acquired before the marriage, an inheritance or a gift. Items acquired with separated property remains separate, such as a boat purchased from an inheritance. There are exceptions for separate property that was sustained by the marriage. Businesses are a common example that existed before the marriage, but was supported by comingled funds.
- Property purchased with comingled funds: Property that is purchased with a mixture of separate and community property will likely be decided by the courts as community property for distribution. Property that you wish to keep separate must be clearly maintained using only separate property. Any comingling of funds could easily change its status.
Determining who gets to keep the house is a more complicated decision for the courts especially if children are involved. The court’s decision can vary greatly. This is why it is often best if spouses can agree on the distribution of assets so that the outcome is more expected.
Debt You Didn’t know about
Debt incurred without your knowledge may be a reason for your divorce, but you don’t want to have to worry about it after your divorce is settled. In Michigan your spouse’s debt may be your debt even if you were unaware of the debt and never signed with the creditor. During the settlement negotiations a full financial disclosure is important to ensure that responsibility for all debts are clearly outlined.
Michigan Law Solutions
Our experienced attorneys are committed to providing our clients with the guidance and support that they need to resolve their legal issues. With over five decades of experience serving clients in Southeastern Michigan, the attorneys of Michigan Law Solutions have the experience and resources to resolve your legal issues. With a broad range of expertise including, but not limited to: family law, probate, bankruptcy, and estate planning. In all divorce and family law matters, preparation is key. Our expert family law attorneys are seasoned professionals that will help you successfully navigate this time in your life.
Michigan Legal Solutions
28345 Beck Road, Suite 401
Wixom, MI 48393
Phone: (248) 869-0030
Fax: (248) 869-0039