Property accumulated during the marriage is generally considered marital property. This includes homes, cars, pension plans and also debt. debts and assets – regardless of who “earned it.” In Michigan, there is no formula for dividing marital property. If the parties cannot agree, the court will divide marital property based on what is equitable. This does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split – it means that property will be divided based on what the court deems fair.
The court does distinguish between marital property and separate property. Anything a party had prior to the marriage is generally considered a non-marital property and would not be divided. However, there are exceptions. For example, a house owned before the marriage may be awarded to the party who owned it, but the increase in its equity from the date of marriage to the date of divorce may be divided as a marital asset. Generally, once a party contributes to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of a non-marital asset, it becomes a marital asset.
This is not an exhaustive list, and the court may consider additional factors. When dividing property, fairness is the main concern.
To learn more about property division, please contact me.