How Is Property Divided In A Divorce?
With respect to marital property laws, Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state. This means that when the courts are dividing property, they don’t simply split the assets 50-50, as in “community property” states.
Instead, Michigan courts must consider what’s “fair” by assessing each party’s contributions to the family’s wealth and each spouse’s needs post divorce. Courts may also consider the cause of the divorce, and whether one spouse was more “at fault” for the end of the marriage. While most divorces are settled amicably and do not go to court, it is important to be aware of these laws.
Protecting Your Assets
Protecting your family and your assets in a divorce is of utmost importance to most persons thinking about a divorce. The amount of knowledge you have before filing for a divorce will make the process smoother and less stressful for you because you will know what to expect. Knowledge is the most powerful tool in a divorce. We offer some guidelines that may help you protect your assets and encourage you to consult a qualified attorney if you are considering a divorce.
Retirement accounts acquired during a marriage, or any portion thereof, are subject to division in a divorce. These assets are divided based on the length of the marriage. Pre- and post- marriage contributions or accumulation to retirement accounts are separate and not subject to division by the courts.
What Is Separate Property?
In Michigan, as in most other states, if you are married, most of your property is probably “marital property” — this includes almost anything you bought or received during your marriage, even if your name is the only one associated with the purchase. Exceptions to this — what the law considers “separate property” — include assets owned before the marriage and inheritances or gifts received by you as an individual. Only marital property is considered by the courts — separate property is always yours to keep.