When a marriage ends in divorce, one of the most critical issues to address is property division. In Michigan, this process is based on the concept of ‘equitable distribution,’ which aims for a fair, though not necessarily equal, division of marital wealth. Understanding this principle is essential as it affects both shared and individual assets, from jointly-owned real estate to personal retirement accounts.
Having this knowledge helps prepare spouses for the financial implications of their divorce.
Factors to consider
When dividing property during a divorce, courts evaluate several factors. These aim to ensure a fair split of marital property based on the principle of equitable distribution. Here’s what the court typically considers:
- Length of the marriage: A longer marriage often leads to a more balanced asset split.
- Each spouse’s circumstances: This includes factors such as health, age and earning ability. For instance, a spouse with higher earnings may receive less than a spouse who hasn’t been working.
- Contributions to the marriage: The court looks at more than just financial contributions. Non-financial contributions, such as homemaking or raising children, also carry significant weight.
- Behavior during the marriage: The court takes note of whether a spouse wasted or hid assets. This can sway the division of property.
Understanding these factors gives spouses a clearer picture of what to expect in terms of asset allocation when the marriage ends.
Dividing up assets
Divorce proceedings can be complex and emotionally draining, especially when it comes to splitting assets. Given the finality of the court’s decision on asset division and the potential for regret or financial instability, it’s crucial to understand and agree with the division before concluding the divorce process. For this reason, couples should consider seeking an attorney experienced in family law. These professionals can guide couples through Michigan’s property division laws and advocate for their interests throughout the process.