There are many different issues that couples in Michigan must resolve as they go through a divorce. During this process, if they have minor children, they will need to make child custody and visitation determinations. They may also need to discuss spousal support in certain divorces. However, all divorces will need to divide their property. The amounts and types of property couples own vary, but the property must be divided between the spouses in every divorce.
Marital property v. separate property
When dividing property the couple will only need to divide the marital property. This includes most property that the couple acquires or purchases during the marriage. Marital property includes all property regardless of who purchased it or which spouse’s name is on the account or title.
Separate property is property that a spouse owned prior to the marriage and property that they may have purchased with separate property during the marriage. It also includes gifts and inheritances that one spouse receives even if it is during the marriage. This property is not divided in the divorce.
Equitable division of property
Marital property is divided equitably, which does not necessarily mean that it is divided equally. If one spouse needs more resources because they do not earn as much or for other reasons, that spouse may receive more marital property. This also applies to the debts that the couple may have from the marriage. One spouse may be responsible for more of the debt because they have more of an ability to pay them off.
There are many divorces in Michigan each year. As each marriage is unique, each divorce is also unique. The circumstances of each divorce varies and therefore how property is divided in each divorce will vary as well. Property division can be a complicated process as couples determine what is marital property and what is separate property as well as how to equitably divide the property. Experienced attorneys understand this process and may be a useful resource.