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Some states operate on a community property theory of dividing assets in a divorce. In Michigan, however, that is not the case. When dividing marital assets, Michigan attempts to come to an “equitable” or fair arrangement. In this, there are a number of factors that the courts consider. One of those factors is the length of the marriage.
In community property states, marital property is divided right down the middle 50/50. Michigan operates on a theory of equitable distribution of property. While in some cases this may result in a 50/50 distribution of marital property, it does not always.
It is also important to recognize that before an equitable distribution can be arranged, you and your spouse must first to come to an agreement on what property is yours, what property is theirs, and what property is marital property. If you fail to come to an agreement, then the court will be forced to decide the matter for you.
If you have been together for a long time, most of what you own will comprise the marital estate. This includes any property that was acquired during the marriage.
Basically, any asset that was acquired during the marriage, regardless of which spouse it was earned by, is marital property. This is what will be separated by the courts.
The only property that is eligible to be separated is property that was acquired before the marriage or property that was acquired through an inheritance.
Fair does not necessarily mean equal, but what constitutes “fair” in Michigan? There are a number of factors that are taken into consideration. One of those factors is the length of the marriage.
For instance, for marriages that have gone on for a very long time, there will simply be more marital property than in marriages that only lasted a couple years. In some cases, this can impact the distribution of assets much more than a short-term marriage would.
Other factors impacting property distribution include:
If you need to dissolve a long-term marriage and want an attorney who will advocate passionately on your behalf, contact the Oakland County divorce attorneys at Iafrate & Salassa. We can help protect your interests during your divorce.