Experienced Property Settlement Representation
Who gets what? It's a simple question of huge importance for divorcing spouses.
At Cameron C. Goulding Family Law and Mediation, P.L.C., we possess extensive knowledge of Michigan property division law as well as the skills and tools to handle complex, high-asset divorce cases. We will stand up for your rights, to help you seek a fair and equitable distribution of the marital estate.
Get Answers to Your Questions about Property Division
A property settlement requires an attorney with knowledge of accounting, property valuation, tax issues, and other financial matters. It also requires an attorney who has experience with Michigan family law judges and understands how the court tends to treat various items of property.
You need to know where things stand regarding the division of your property and debts. If you are considering divorce and have questions about property division, talk to Michigan property settlement lawyer Cameron Goulding.
Equitable Distribution of Property
Michigan law divides property in a divorce according to the principle of equitable distribution. Basically, this means a roughly 50/50 split of property.
It is always better for a couple to reach their own property settlement agreement, without going to trial. Divorce mediation can play a strong role in deciding property and debt division. The other choice is to have the solution to your property disputes imposed by a judge, who may not share your views about division of property.
If both spouses cannot reach a property settlement agreement on their own, the court will divide the marital property and debts. The judge has a great amount of discretion in dividing property, but generally the court will not grant greater than 60%-40% property division unless extreme circumstances compel the court to do so.
What is Marital Property?
The first step in property division is to determine what property is marital property and what is separate property. Michigan has its own laws that determine what is and is not considered marital property.
Many factors come into play, but basically property is distinguished as follows:
Marital property includes all property or assets accumulated during the course of a marriage. This involves property gained individually and as a couple. Marital property includes income, houses, cars, pensions, 401(k)s and stocks, and anything else – as well as debts incurred during marriage.
Separate, or non-marital property is any asset or income accumulated by a person before the marriage, and has been solely owned or kept exclusively in that person's name. Even though property may be considered separate, the court may still consider any increase in value of the separate property to be part of the marital estate.
Generally, an inheritance is considered the separate property of the spouse who inherited it. In cases where the other marital property is not sufficient for the other party's support and maintenance, an inheritance can be subject to distribution.
Considerations for the Court in a Property Settlement
To be fair and equitable, the court must consider several factors when dividing property. These factors include:
- The source of the property
- The length of the marriage
- The needs of the parties
- Each party's contribution toward the acquisition of the property
- The earning ability of each party
- The needs of the parties' children
- The cause, or fault, of the divorce
These factors become part of the analysis of property settlements, at which point a judge may deviate from 50/50 distribution of marital property.
Just as a couple's property is examined to determine what is and is not considered marital property, so too must the couples' debts be examined. Debts will be designated as either marital or non-marital. Like property division, debts will be divided between the husband and wife according to the principles of equitable distribution.
So long as the debt was acquired during the marriage, the court will not examine which party incurred the debt, except under certain circumstances. As with separate property, there is also separate debt. This is any debt incurred before you were married that is yours alone.
Questions? Contact Michigan Property Settlement Lawyer, Cameron Goulding
Property and debt division can be a contentious issue in many divorces. It can also be a very complicated effort in accounting. Barring custody, alimony or support issues, the division of property and debts are almost always the most important aspect of a divorce. Counsel from the right attorney can make a tremendous difference in the outcome of a divorce proceeding.
Call me at 248.608.4123, or connect with me here about property and debt division. Be prepared and informed regarding your property rights. Ask for representation from a Michigan property settlement lawyer who has practiced exclusively in divorce and family law since 1996. We service clients in all of Oakland County Michigan including Auburn Hills, Rochester Hills, Birmingham and Troy.