If you are facing divorce, you probably have serious concerns about how the process will impact your financial future. From your home and personal property to cash and investments, how might the court handle the division of your assets?
The first thing to know is that Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state. This means the court generally divides shared marital assets in a way that is fair, or equitable, to all parties.
What are “marital assets”?
In Michigan, most types of assets that either you or your spouse acquired during your married years automatically became shared marital property. This is true of real estate and other physical property as well as financial assets, such as personal income, investments, insurance policies and retirement accounts.
This marital property is subject to court-ordered division during divorce. However, some assets remain your own separate property. These may include personal inheritances, gifts or assets owned prior to marriage, as long as you did not mingle that property with shared marital property.
How does “equitable distribution” work?
Rather than divide assets equally, the court tries to distribute marital property equitably. While a judge may split marital assets 50/50, he or she may award a greater portion to you or to your future ex depending on certain factors. These factors may include the length of your marriage, your respective incomes and, if you have children, your future custody arrangements.
The court will try to divide your marital property equitably if you and your spouse cannot agree on how to do so on your own. If you have a difficult relationship with your future ex, litigation may be necessary. However, if you want to separate on amicable terms, you may be able to negotiate your own property settlement agreement outside of court.