Michigan follows equitable distribution when dividing property in a divorce. This law strives to create the fairest division of assets and debts, which might not necessarily be a 50/50 split.
Review what the law says about property division when a marriage ends in Michigan.
Understanding marital vs. separate property
Separate property refers to assets and debts either spouse acquired before the marriage. Inheritances or gifts given to just one spouse during the marriage also constitute separate property. Assets and debts accrued by either spouse during the marriage constitute marital property.
Couples who are divorcing after many years should seek professional property valuation to ensure fair division. For example, if one person bought a home before the marriage that the couple lived in during the marriage, some of the equity becomes marital property even though the home itself is separate property.
Reviewing factors in property division
Michigan law establishes factors for judges to use when creating a property division agreement, including:
- General fairness and equity
- Whether either spouse committed wrongdoing that contributed to the end of the marriage
- Each spouse’s current and projected future income
- The living situation and financial needs of each spouse
- The couple’s custody arrangement if they have children
- The age and health of each person
- How each person contributed to the acquisition of marital assets
- How long the marriage lasted
Divorcing spouses can reach an agreement about their property and debts outside the court system and submit it to the family court judge for approval. When they cannot agree, the judge will make a legally binding decision during the couple’s divorce proceedings.