Property Division Helps Set The Foundation For Your Post-Divorce Life
The financial impact of divorce is the main concern for parties, and for good reason. Many households shift from two incomes to one as a result of divorce. In other households, a person who was not a primary wage earner may now have to become self-sufficient.
Dividing marital property is a key part of the divorce process — one that has significant impact on each party’s financial foundation going forward. It is critical that you work with a lawyer who understands Michigan’s property division laws and can protect your best interests. I have more than 25 years of family law experience, and I have handled numerous divorces that involved complex assets such as pension plans, retirement accounts, investment real estate, second homes, closely held businesses and more.
Identifying And Valuing Marital Property
Two important steps in the property division process are determining what is marital property and what is separate property, and then obtaining a proper value for the marital property. Marital property is defined as any property or assets acquired or earned during the marriage. Separate property includes any assets that were obtained prior to the marriage as long as these assets were not commingled with marital assets. Separate property also includes any assets received as a gift or inheritance, again, as long as these assets were not commingled with marital assets.
Properly valuing marital property is an essential component of the property division process. This can be challenging when there are complex assets to assess. I work closely with real estate valuation specialists, forensic accountants and other highly skilled specialists to uncover and value all marital assets.
How Property Division Is Determined
As with other decisions that must be made during the divorce process, property division decisions can be reached through agreements between the two parties, thereby avoiding stressful and costly litigation. If you and your spouse cannot reach an agreement on property division matters, I can assist with mediation or arbitration as an option. By avoiding litigation, both parties retain more control over the decisions that are ultimately made.
However, sometimes an agreement cannot be reached. In these situations, I am always prepared to advocate aggressively on your behalf in court. Michigan law calls for a “fair and equitable” division of marital property. This does not necessarily mean a 50-50 split. Rather, Michigan judges consider numerous factors when deciding property division matters, including:
- The length of the marriage
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marital estate, including serving as a homemaker and primary caregiver
- Each spouse’s earning ability based on education, job skills and work history
- Each spouse’s age and health
A Lawyer Committed To Your Best Interests
We welcome the opportunity to protect your interests in property division and all other aspects of divorce. Call 517-883-2137 or use my online contact form to schedule a free consultation. I represent residents of Ingham County and all surrounding counties from my office in Mason.