In Michigan, anyone who is married, no matter how soon after marriage they divorce, is entitled to an equitable share of the marital assets. Because divorce settlements involving property division in Michigan rely on the rule of “equitable distribution,” it is unlikely that the marital property will be divided 50/50. You probably won’t get “half of everything.” However, assets or debts acquired during marriages are fairly, though not always equally, distributed by the court in the event of a divorce.
What if I Have a Prenup?
Prenuptial agreements can help ease some of the strains of divorce settlements by detailing how marital property ownership will work upfront. Prenups are also subject to change during a marriage, provided both spouses first agree to the proposed amendments in writing.
What Property Gets Divided in Divorce?
Property that you or your spouse owned prior to your marriage is separate property. Usually, that property is not included in any asset division. There are exceptions to that rule, so consulting with an attorney is in your best interest.
Anything you acquired together during the marriage or that either of you acquired separately after you were married, except gifts or inheritances, qualifies as marital property. The types of property that could be equitably divided in a divorce include:
- Real estate
- The marital home
- Vacation home
- Bank accounts
- Collections (artwork, guns, jewelry, etc.)
- Non-retirement investments
- Retirement accounts
- Military pensions
- Government pensions
- Life insurance policies
- Digital assets
- Intellectual property
- Rental properties
What About Pensions and Disability?
If your ex-spouse is a retired military member with over ten years of service, and your marriage lasted at least ten years, you could claim half of their pension and possibly even more in cases dealing with child support and alimony. In addition, suppose your ex-spouse receives a federal, state, or local government pension. In that case, you can legally seek a portion of their payments in the final divorce settlement.
If your spouse collects workers’ compensation benefits and you’ve been married for ten or more years, you could be eligible to obtain half the benefits they’re paid.
Social Security benefits are subject to federal law, which means that the ex-spouse of a recipient can qualify for about half of their total benefits through the federal government.
What Other Assets Could Be Divided?
In Michigan divorce cases, stock plans, stock options, and vacation and sick time benefits are also considered divisible property. Complications and legal questions can arise, given the complex nature of investments and options, so it is essential to seek expert legal counsel before you experience any problems.
Furthermore, personal injury settlements are also divisible property in divorce cases, especially if they involve loss of income. Generally speaking, if a personal injury claim results in compensation for pain and suffering, that portion of the award is personal to the injured person, and the court could take that into consideration when dividing property.
Other items divisible in divorce include dependency tax exemptions and debts. A court will consider one spouse’s undergraduate and professional degrees if the other spouse worked to support the degreed spouse while they earned their qualification. The intricate nature of these property classifications almost always calls for experienced legal advice.
Call a Seasoned Property Division Attorney Today
Finding the right attorney is a crucial first step to getting what you deserve in the event of a divorce. At Michelich & Kavanaugh PLC, our family law attorneys will assist you in all aspects of your divorce settlement proceeding, from property division to child and spousal support payments. We help our clients strategize the best action plan for ensuring a smooth and straightforward divorce settlement. Contact us today at (586) 776-1700 for a free, in-office consultation with one of our attentive and accomplished lawyers.