Division of Assets

Division of Assets

Dividing marital assets is one of the most contentious aspects of a Michigan divorce, next to determining child custody. When it comes to distributing marital assets in a divorce, Michigan follows the rule of equitable distribution. In other words, Michigan is not a community property state that simply divides marital assets 50/50.

In many divorce cases, the couple comes up with their own settlement agreement after negotiations or mediation. In the event an agreement can not be reached, the court will decide on the division of assets once the trial is conducted.

Understanding the differences between marital and separate property is extremely important when negotiating asset distribution. It is in the best interests of both sides to consult with their own experienced Michigan divorce attorney who can advise on what assets are subject to division. Settlement agreements cannot be modified unless there is a specific criterium present, like fraud or a clerical error.

Factors That Can Influence Asset Division

When the court is looking at the division of assets in a Michigan divorce, the judge will consider a number of factors, including:

  • Contributions to the marital estate
  • What was the cause of the divorce
  • How long the marriage lasted
  • Each spouse’s earning ability
  • Needs of the children and both parties
  • Health of each spouse
  • Past conduct/relations of each party
  • General principles of equitable distribution

There are other factors that deserve special mention, including whether or not a prenuptial agreement exists. In the event there is one, it could affect how assets are divided and what options there are for spousal support.

Depending on the value of the marital estate, the court may need to look to experts for valuation assistance. For example, a couple with extensive assets may need to hire a CPA or tax attorney to help analyze their assets and come up with a value.

Separate versus Marital Property

In many cases, whatever you had prior to entering into marriage will be considered separate property, unless it is commingled with marital assets. There is the risk that separate property will be treated as marital property if the other spouse contributed to it. If one spouse received an inheritance or gift during the marriage, that may still be considered separate property provided they were not shared or commingled. This is one of the reasons retaining a Michigan Divorce attorney is so important. Your attorney will help you analyze the marital estate in order to make recommendations on the best course of action.

Retaining a Michigan Divorce Attorney

At Robbins & Licavoli, PLLC, we specialize in family law matters, including the division of assets in a divorce. It is imperative to understand the differences between separate and marital property when negotiating or drafting a property settlement agreement. If you have questions or need assistance, contact our office, or complete the contact form at the bottom of this page, to schedule a consultation.

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