When a couple decides to go their separate ways, before their divorce can be finalized, one of the most important things that need to be done, apart from determining how child custody will be awarded, is determine how their assets are going to be divided. In the state of Michigan, assets are divided equally among both parties involved in the divorce, however, there are cases where this doesn’t always stand true.
For starters, you are going to want to take into account which assets are separate property and which are considered to be marital property. This is very important to take note of as the property deemed “separate” generally is not split in a divorce. So, let’s say your spouse owned property prior to you getting married and you had no involvement with it such as helping repair it, maintain it, or cover expenses associated with the property. In this case, the property probably won’t be included as a piece of marital property. Other examples of separate property might include “gifts or inheritances, assets received after separation or filing, or assets or appreciation traceable to those items” [Source: The Institute of Continuing Legal Education].
But, if a spouse meets one or both of the statutory tests mentioned below, they may be awarded the separate property.
- He or she contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property.
- The marital estate is not enough to cover his or her “suitable support.”
Now, after the courts distinguish what is considered to be marital property and what is separate property, a few factors play a role in how the marital property will be split. According to the Michigan Bar Journal, “the trial court must value the assets and liabilities of the marriage and make an equitable division,” however, not always does this mean it will be equal. Some things that will be considered include:
- The length of the marriage
- The needs of the parties.
- The needs of the children.
- The earning power of the parties.
- The source of the property or the parties’ contributions toward its acquisition.
- The cause of the divorce. Although fault may play some role in the division of assets, it generally has a limited role.
[Source: The Institute of Continuing Legal Education].
While it seems as though there is a lot that goes into dividing assets in a divorce, the process can be made much easier when you have a Michigan divorce attorney helping you with it. And because every case is different, it is best that you sit down with Lansing, Michigan divorce lawyer Stuart R. Shafer and discuss the circumstances surrounding your divorce. Rather than trying to assume what assets would be considered marital and which would be categorized as separate, it is always a good idea to have a professional who handles these types of matters on a daily basis assist you with this.
The truth is, divorces can become rather stressful when one party is attempting to take more property and assets than they are rightfully entitled to which is why you need a legal representative working beside you who can protect your interests. Therefore, if you are preparing to file for divorce in Lansing, East Lansing, Okemos, DeWitt, St. Johns, Grand Ledge, or Charlotte or you are at the stage of dividing your assets, contact The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. and let us ensure you are being fairly awarded in your divorce.
You can reach The Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer, P.C. at:
1223 Turner Street, #333
Lansing, MI 48906