When a couple is married, they may operate under the axiom that “what is yours is mine, and mine is yours.” However, if divorce is on the horizon, property division becomes a major issue, with both parties wanting to make sure their assets are divided fairly so they both can move forward towards a brighter future. It is important for these individuals to have a basic understanding of property division in Michigan.
Marital property versus separate property
There is a difference between classifying property as marital versus separate, which is important as only marital property is divided between the spouses in a divorce while separate property remains that of its owner.
Did you know that just because your name is on the title to the property does not automatically make it separate property? In Michigan, separate property is that which was obtained prior to the marriage and was not commingled — that is, mixed-up with — marital property. In general, property obtained during the course of the marriage is considered marital property regardless of whose name is on the title.
There are some exceptions to marital property. Inheritances, court awards and pension proceeds in general may be considered separate assets regardless of when they were obtained.
What is ‘equitable distribution’?
Once it is determined what assets comprise the marital estate, property division can begin. Michigan follows the laws of “equitable distribution” when it comes to property division. This means that the court will divide assets based on what is fair, even if this does not lead to an exact 50-50 split. However, the parties are free to try to negotiate their own property division settlement before turning to the court to make such a decision.
Learn more about property division in Michigan
The outcome of the property division process is naturally very important to those in the Southfield area going through a divorce. However, this post does not provide legal advice and cannot promise any specific outcome in your divorce. Family law attorneys may be a good resource to those who want more information about how property division may affect them.