A Michigan divorce includes division of property acquired during the marriage. Family law attorney Henry Bergmans provides the dedicated legal representation you need to make informed decisions regarding property division. Henry is an exceptionally skilled lawyer with decades of experience negotiating high-stakes situations. His client-centered approach means you can count on knowledgeable legal representation that is personalized to your needs and goals.

Classifying Marital Property In Michigan

A Michigan divorce involves dividing marital property between the spouses. During the property division process, the court determines which property is considered marital and which is separate. Generally, marital property is property obtained during the marriage, and can include almost anything, ranging from the marital home to retirement accounts and business interests of the individual spouses.

Separate property is any asset that was owned by one spouse before the marriage or received by gift or inheritance during the marriage. For example, a business that was owned by a spouse before the marriage is often considered separate property and not counted as a marital asset, but the determination may depend on how it was treated during the marriage.

Spouses generally retain separate property in a divorce property division, but separate property may be divided in certain circumstances. In some cases, issues arise over whether specific assets qualify as marital or separate property. When that happens, those issues must be resolved as part of the property division process.

In addition to the allocation of marital assets, division of property includes the division of marital debt. Debt is treated the same as assets and is fairly divided between the spouses. Issues of whether a debt is marital or separate may arise in some divorces.

Division of Property

Michigan courts are required to divide property fairly between the parties. This usually means an equal division of property, but a court can consider several factors when deciding the issue of asset division during divorce. The factors may include:

  • Duration of the marriage
  • Past and present conduct in the marriage
  • Contribution toward the acquisition of marital property
  • Age, health, and life status of each spouse
  • Each spouse's income and earning potential
  • Fault, such as adultery or gambling, that may have contributed to the divorce

A court may also award spousal support within the context of the division of property and in accordance with what it considers fair and equitable.

Spouses may — and often do — agree on how to divide their property. A property settlement agreement may be developed through discussions between the lawyers for the parties or through a more formal collaborative process. If the parties reach agreement on division of property, the written agreement is submitted for review and approval of the court.

Reaching agreement enables divorcing spouses to divide marital property in the way that is most appropriate for the family. Negotiating a settlement agreement acceptable to both parties is preferable to having the court determine property division issues, since the court determination is uncertain and legally binding on both parties.

Dividing property in a divorce can be contentious and have a lasting impact on your and your family's financial future. The long-term implications and complex laws that apply make it essential that you consult with an attorney who understands your needs and can help you make the legal decisions that most benefit you in the long run. Henry Bergmans has many years of professional and family law experience, exceptional negotiation and litigation skills, and a client-focused approach that ensures you receive personalized support and counsel throughout the property division process.

Schedule a Free Consultation with Henry Bergmans

If you have questions about property division in Michigan, contact Henry Bergmans for a free initial consultation by reaching out through the online contact form or calling at (810) 360-0900. From his office in Howell, Henry assists clients throughout Livingston County, Genesee County, Ingham County, and Washtenaw County, and in the surrounding areas.