After working many years in the corporate world, you may have built a successful and lucrative career. For example, you may have been prudent and made significant investments and built a hefty retirement account. You may feel confident that you are well-prepared for the future.
However, while you may have seen career success, your marriage may not have been as successful. If your spouse was not as prudent as you were when it came to saving for retirement you may wonder if you will have to sell assets during the property division process that you rather would have kept, such as a vacation home.
Property division in Michigan
Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state when it comes to property division. That means that marital property will be divided in a way that is fair. Marital property includes that which was obtained during the course of the marriage, regardless of who bought it or whose name it is titled in. While sometimes this leads to a relatively even 50/50 split, sometimes one spouse will be awarded more property than the other in the property division process. Marital debts will also be divided in the property division process.
What about separate property?
Separate property is that which was owned by a spouse prior to marrying. Courts in Michigan have been divided in the past about how to treat separate property in a divorce. For example, recent caselaw states that contributions to the marriage such as being a homemaker may allow that spouse to retain a share in separate property, especially if the homemaker contributed to the acquisition, appreciation or preservation of that asset.
Property division will ultimately be based on what is just and equitable
If the topic of property division and specifically equitable distribution is confusing, do not worry. Many people are unfamiliar with this aspect of divorce. So, will you be able to keep that vacation home? It depends. Those who are interested in learning more about their rights in the property division process can seek the help they need to make informed choices.