Divorce is a stressful, difficult, life-changing event that can seem turbulent without the help of an experienced Michigan divorce attorney to navigate disputes between divorcing parties. Understanding the process makes it easier to lay out a plan toward a comprehensive divorce settlement. Separation on the way to divorce can mean shortages of money, late bills, and losing access to personal property, resulting in a bumpy path without the assistance of a divorce lawyer.
When it comes to division of property, Michigan law requires an “equitable distribution of the assets and debts between the parties. This means the judge does not have to divide the property 50:50, but instead the court will try to divide the property in a fair, i.e. an “equitable” manner. “Equitable” does not always mean “equal” because courts can take many factors into consideration when determining the equitable distribution of property and a divorce attorney can provide a more detailed explanation.
The division of property will be made after a court’s formal review of the marital property and debts, and equitable distribution will be made with the consideration of divorcing parties economic circumstances, need to live in family home for custodial parent, contributions to marital property, value of property, conduct of divorcing parties and custodial arrangements.
Clarify prior assets to marriage.
Michigan is one of a minority of states that not only divide marital, or community property acquired during the course of a marriage, but may also divide assets earned prior to the marriage, regardless of which spouse is the title owner. This may result in a significant surprise for spouses who entered a marriage with high-value assets, but an experienced divorce attorney can address divorcing parties concerns.
Exceptions to marital property acquired subsequent to the marriage may include:
- Property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent,
- Property acquired in exchange for property acquired prior to the marriage or in exchange for property acquired by gift, bequest, devise, or descent,
- Property acquired by a spouse after a decree of legal separation,
- Property excluded by valid written agreement of the parties, and
- The increase in value of property acquired prior to the marriage.
Included in marital property is any property acquired by either spouse subsequent to the marriage and prior to a decree of legal separation or dissolution of marriage regardless of whether title is held individually, or by the spouses in some form of co-ownership such as joint tenancy, tenancy in common, tenancy by the entirety, and community property.
Use of property.
During a Michigan divorce process, which can take time if one party cannot agree with the other about settlement, the judge can order a spouse to let the other spouse use personal property and real estate, for instance staying in the family home may be something the judge sees in the best interest of the children.
Hire a lawyer.
For the best possible outcome regarding your divorce and division of property, speaking to a knowledgeable divorce attorney at the Law Offices of Stuart R. Shafer will put your mind to rest and allow you to get on with your life, while she works with you to settle the particulars of your divorce.
Stuart R. Shafer, P.C.
Address: 1223 Turner St #333
Lansing, MI 48906
Phone: (517) 487-6603