Property division is a key issue in any divorce, regardless of the length of time you and your spouse were married. You likely have personal property that belonged to your previously which you brought into the marriage, along with real estate, cars, home furnishings, and other items you may have purchased together with your spouse. The following highlights some of the basic procedures the court is likely to follow in determining who gets what, as well as how to ensure your former spouse is not hiding assets.
Marital Property Division in Michigan Divorce
During divorce, any personal property or real estate you owned prior to the marriage remains yours exclusively, while any property acquired together with your spouse is considered marital property subject to division as the result of a court order or settlement. Under the Michigan Revised Statutes, we are what is known as an ‘equitable property’ state. This means that rather than dividing everything 50/50 between both spouses, the court aims at a more even, fair distribution. Factors that are generally considered in marital property division include:
- The length of the marriage and the age of the spouses;
- Each spouse’s income and earning potential;
- The contributions each made in acquiring and increasing the value of the property;
- The amount of debt the couple owes and how each contributed to those debts;
- Any sacrifices either party made in terms of career or educational goals in support of the other or the marriage.
If the couple has children, this will likely be an issue in determining who remains in the family home. Other considerations include whether either of the spouses gave away money or property with the intent of depriving the other partner, or whether they squandered it on affairs, gambling habits, or other reckless behaviors.
Locating Hidden Assets
In some cases, one of the spouses may attempt to hide assets to prevent it from being subject to property division. The Huffington Post claims that this is increasingly difficult in the age of smartphones, social media, and ‘online presences’ where evidence can be so easily traced. Tax returns are often a good source for locating hidden assets, business interests, and stocks, and you should be alert for any mail your partner receives coming from unknown companies or addresses.
One of the many benefits of working with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney is that we can help ensure all property and assets are accounted for and that you get the maximum you are entitled to in any settlement. Call or contact Iafrate & Salassa, P.C. online and request a free consultation to see how we can help you today.