Divorcing couples must decide how to divide marital property and debts fairly. Michigan laws mandate a fair and equitable distribution between spouses.
Understanding the factors that influence property distribution can help you reach an agreement that serves both parties.
Equitable distribution principle
Michigan follows the principle of equitable distribution. Couples must split marital property fairly but not necessarily equally.
The court reviews the length of the marriage and the contributions of each spouse during that time. Other relevant factors include each person’s income, age and health.
Marital property vs. separate property
Marital property includes assets and debts acquired during the marriage. The court typically considers anything either of you owned before the marriage separate property. You can also designate inheritances and gifts received by just one party as separate assets.
Division of personal property and assets
You will have to decide how to share the family home and other real estate holdings. Homes in Grand Rapids have appreciated by more than 155% over the past decade. Seek professional valuation if you have lived in your home for several years.
The court may decide to award one spouse the home while allocating other assets. The judge can also order the sale of the property, with the proceeds divided between the spouses.
Personal property, including vehicles, furniture and other assets, also falls under equitable distribution. The court aims to ensure a fair split, considering the value and significance of each item.
You and your spouse must divide the debt accrued during the marriage. The judge will fairly allocate credit card debt, mortgage debt and other obligations. Considerations include who incurred the debt and its purpose.
You can negotiate with your spouse to reach a property division agreement outside of court. If you cannot agree, state law determines the distribution arrangement based on these guidelines.