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Michigan Family Law Blog

Property Division in a Divorce in Michigan

Posted by Cameron Goulding | Sep 21, 2022 | 0 Comments

Divorce is hard enough, but dividing marital property can be even more so. First, we have to identify what is considered marital property, and that can be a contentious process, especially if there's been any commingling of funds between separate property and marital assets. Then, valuation of the property is necessary to make sure there's an "equitable division" of property, which does not necessarily mean equal.

If you are concerned that divorce or separation may be in your future, you need the guidance of a divorce attorney who knows how to approach the division of assets and debts under the law. At North Oakland Divorce Lawyer, our family law lawyer in Michigan will review your case, outline your best options, and advocate for your rights and interests. Contact us online or at (248) 420-7419 to schedule a consultation. 

What are Marital Assets in Michigan?

Generally speaking, marital assets are property obtained by either spouse, or both spouses together, during the course of the marriage. This property is to be distinguished from property that is kept separate, and only owned by one spouse. Marital assets may include real property, stocks, and retirement accounts. Debt accumulated by one or both spouses during the marriage can also be considered as marital property and belongs to both parties.  

Almost all marital assets are considered to be owned jointly by the spouses and must be divided when the parties divorce. Community property belongs to the marriage rather than any one spouse. For example, if a home is bought in only the name of one spouse during the marriage, that home is considered to be marital property and belongs to the marriage (and should be divided between the parties).

In Michigan it does not matter if a property or titled in the name of only one spouse. For example, one spouse may earn a pension through their employer, and this pension is in their name alone. However, in our state, the pension is recognized as belonging to both spouses and will be disbursed accordingly. This can seem particularly unfair to the spouse that "earned" the pension when assets are divided.

There are a few exceptions to what is considered marital property that are referred to as separate property of one spouse.  This mean include property owned by one spouse prior to the marriage, property gifted to only one spouse during the marriage or property that one spouse inherits.   

Common Challenges to the Division of Property 

A common challenge to dividing assets is the commingling of separate property with marital property.  Businesses are also often a source of contention in divorces in community property states. Who bought the business and when, as well as who contributed funds and where the funds came from, are all matters to be considered when deciding if a business is marital property.

Benefits of a Divorce Lawyer for the Division of Property in Michigan

If you are going through a divorce, it is imperative that you know how the courts will handle the division of your property and how we distinguish between marital assets and separate property. A local attorney experienced in family law will consult with you and advise you on what to expect during your divorce. 

Contact a Division of Assets Lawyer in Michigan Today

Division of property is required when you get divorced. You and your spouse can agree as to who gets what, but ultimately, a judge must approve it. That being said, division of assets and debts can become very contentious. Having someone who knows the law and has strong negotiating skills will help make the process go as smoothly as possible. Contact us today either online or at (2484) 420-7419 to schedule a consultation.

About the Author

Cameron Goulding

A native of Oakland County, Michigan, family lawyer Cameron C. Goulding has been providing counseling and legal services of the highest caliber to individuals and families in Southeastern Michigan for over 24 years. Mr. Goulding grew up in Oakland County, Michigan and graduated from Birmingham G...


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