Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state. That means the marital property should be divided in an equitable fashion. Equitable does not mean equal, but rather what is fair. The court will encourage the parties to reach a settlement on property and debt issues, otherwise, the court can declare the property award.
The circuit courts in Michigan may include in any decree of divorce or of separate maintenance entered in the circuit court appropriate provisions awarding to a party all or a portion of the property, either real or personal, owned by his or her spouse, as appears to the court to be equitable under all the circumstances of the case, if it appears from the evidence in the case that the party contributed to the acquisition, improvement, or accumulation of the property. The decree, upon becoming final, shall have the same force and effect as a Quitclaim Deed of the real estate, if any, or a Bill of Sale of the personal property, if any, given by the party’s spouse to the party. So, an equitable division of the estate of two people considering divorce does not always mean giving up half of your assets. It is much more complicated than that.
Property division is a very complicated legal matter when two people decide to divorce, especially when they have lived together for a long period of time. When two people are married and accumulate property and assets during the time they are together, the result of the accumulation is usually referred to as community property. Normally, community property is divided equally between the two departing spouses. The process gets more complicated when the spouses bring property and assets to the marriage in the beginning, what is inherited during the marriage, and what retirement plans each of the spouses have been contributing to. Also, if the couple has children, the process of dividing up property and assets is complicated further. For example, which spouse is to gain custody of the children may play a larger role in receiving property than the non-custodial parent if the courts so decide that the situation is equitable toward the custodial parent in relation to the marriage as a whole.
Does fair mean giving up half of your assets in a divorce? In places like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Holland, and other cities around Michigan, if you are considering filing for divorce, being fair could mean legally giving up much more than half your assets. If you don’t know what is equitable and fair concerning your legal rights, and you have legal questions concerning a divorce, please contact us right now, and we will put you in touch with a divorce lawyer in your area who can help you answer all the legal questions you may have.
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