Michigan Property Division Attorneys
Protecting Your Future
Who gets what after the dissolution of a marriage is one of the most complicated aspects of the divorce process. It’s all too common for things to become complicated and contentious as the property is divided, even between amicable partners with the best intentions. Our skilled Michigan property division attorneys help you establish goals and outcomes, to reach a settlement that is best for your unique situation. If emotions are high and an agreement is looking unlikely, it’s time to give us a call.
5 Reasons You Need a Family Law Attorney Specializing in Property Division
Property division certainly isn’t cut and dry. Michigan is an equitable division state, meaning assets, property, and debts are divided equitably, meaning what the court deems is “fair”, not necessarily equal. So there are many reasons to hire an experienced attorney to help with this aspect of your divorce, including:
- Your financial future is at stake. Ensuring a stable future is an obvious outcome every person going through divorce wishes for. Through a comprehensive understanding of your current financial status and future needs, you are more likely to achieve this. A family law attorney understands
the complexity of assets and will educate you about your rights.
- You cannot reach an agreement independently. If you’ve failed to come to an agreement with your spouse, it’s time to get outside help. Family law attorneys act as a buffer between spouses to help de-escalate the situation and reach agreeable outcomes. Our attorneys are committed to championing for our clients under Michigan’s family law statutes and case law.
- Complex nature of assets. No two couples have the same marital property, and division is always on a case-by-case basis. Our attorneys focus on the uniqueness of each case, from straightforward debts and assets, to complex property, such as business ownership, multiple retirement assets, and other factors that tend to complicate division.
- Determine separate and marital assets. Especially in longer-term marriages, it can be tricky to determine what is “separate” and what is “marital” property. An attorney experienced with property division understands the difference and will help differentiate one from the other.
- Reasonable goals and outcomes. The emotions of your divorce and subsequent property division doesn’t affect a skilled family law attorney. We present facts and help you understand the laws that govern property division in Michigan to establish reasonable expectations.
What Counts as Marital Property?
Marital property is any property acquired during the course of the marriage. Separate property is owned prior to the marriage. In addition, property obtained by gift or inheritance may be separate property, so long as it was treated as separate property. Marital property items for consideration include:
- Retirement accounts
- Savings accounts
- Real estate
- Tangible assets – vehicles, personal items
- Small businesses
- Shares in businesses and partnerships
- Worker’s compensation and social security benefits
- Debts – credit card, medical, and loans
Divorce in Michigan – How Assets Are Divided
Michigan is a marital property state. This means that, while division might not always be 50-50, the law requires the split of assets and debts to be fair and relatively equal. There are multiple routes to choose from when dividing property, including:
- Coming to an agreement between the parties. Court proceedings and mediation can become expensive, so for many partners, coming to an agreement through their attorneys is their best option. This is usually more achievable for families with straightforward assets and debts. Be careful when choosing to settle your property issues without an attorney – you may miss out on assets to which you are entitled. We strongly encourage you to contact our family law group to speak about the division of assets and debts.
- Coming to an agreement through mediation. Mediation is a process where a neutral third-party helps spouses settle division issues. Mediation is a collaborative process, where the parties attempt to reach an agreeable settlement, without having to make their demands and reason for their demands public record.
- Taking your case to trial. If your case does not get settled, the case will be set for trial. At trial, the judge will then consider all factors and enter an order that the judge believes equitably divides property. These factors include:
- Length of marriage
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate (including childcare and homemaking)
- Both spouses’ financial needs
- Reason for divorce (if one spouse is more at fault)
- Earning potential of each partner
- General principles of equity
- Any other factor deemed relevant
When to Call Michigan Property Division Attorneys
Moving forward from a marriage is a big process, and property division is one aspect that is often overlooked or misunderstood, until, of course, you find yourself in the thick of it. If you have questions regarding your assets, debts, and marital property, call us today.