The process of dissolving a marriage is never an easy one. There are many aspects of the process that cause stress, but one of the greatest concerns for couples is how their property will be divided. While the uncertainty that can accompany the division of property can add additional concern, the state of Michigan has laws that specify the different types of property and how they will be treated.
Before you can develop an understanding of how property will be divided between parties, you must first have an understanding of the different types of property.
Marital vs. Separate property
The state of Michigan recognized two distinct types of property when it comes to divorce. Those types of property are marital property and separate property.
· Marital property – As couples create a life together, they tend to also acquire assets. Marital property is property that was acquired while the couple was officially married.
· Separate property – Separate property is property that one party owned before the marriage. It should be noted that assets that an individual received as a gift or in the form of inheritance during the course of the marriage is generally considered to be separate property as well.
· Shared property – Some states recognize what is known as shared or mixed property. These terms generally apply to property that one party owned before the marriage, but both parties investing in during the course of their marriage. The state of Michigan, however, simply considers this type of property to be marital property.
Division of property
When it comes to actually dividing the property in question, the primary guiding principle is equity. As a result, the court’s goal in dividing property is to ensure that it is done in a way that is fair, but not necessarily equal.
Courts and judges will take many factors into consideration when dividing property. There is no set list of factors that will influence their decisions, but commonly considered factors include,
· Spousal conduct during the marriage
· Ability of the parties to acquire new assets
· The duration of the marriage
· The spouses’ current status
· The age and health of the spouse
· The best interest of any children involved
Because so many assets can potentially be divided in this process and because the opinions of the courts and judges are so important, proper representation becomes especially important. If you find yourself in a situation in which you are facing property division, it is highly recommended that you obtain the services of a legal professional who specialized in this area. They will be able to work with you to ensure that your best interest is the highest priority throughout the proceedings.