Generally speaking, the equitable division of marital property means that any property that spouses acquire during the course of their marriage must be divided fairly. The same holds true for assets that may have increased in value over the course of a marriage.
In some cases, spouses may be able to come to an agreement about marital property distribution. In that instance, the parties can memorialize their agreement in writing and have the court incorporate that agreement into its final divorce decree. If the parties cannot come to an agreement about marital property distribution, the court will make all of the decisions for them. In the vast majority of cases, marital property distribution works out much better for everyone involved when the parties themselves can arrive at a workable agreement.
Even if you and your spouse can agree on how to divide your assets, it is still important that you have an experienced Michigan divorce lawyer representing you. The skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins can assist you throughout the divorce process and help you make informed decisions.
Determining what Constitutes Marital Property
Generally speaking, marital property is any property that the parties acquire during the course of their marriage. Marital property could include cars, real estate, furnishings, furniture, retirement accounts, artwork, savings accounts, pension plans, collections, and any other investments or assets that the parties acquire during the time that they are legally married.
Moreover, when it comes to determining which assets are considered marital property, it does not matter which spouse actually earns the asset. For instance, retirement and savings account assets that only come from one spouse’s earnings are still considered marital property if they are acquired during the time when the spouses are married.
Marital property that is acquired by one of the spouses prior to their marriage is generally considered separate property. However, any increases in value that happen while the parties are married could still be considered marital property.
In addition to equitable distribution of marital property, debts acquired over the course of the spouses’ marriage must also be divided between the parties fairly. These debts could include car loans, mortgage debts, credit card debts, and more.
When the Court Must Decide
When the parties cannot decide how to distribute their marital property or divide their debts, it is up to the court to make those decisions for them. The court will often take several factors into account, including the following:
- Marriage length
- Each spouse’s contribution to the marriage
- Age and health of the spouses
- Earning abilities of each spouse
- Each spouse’s financial needs
- Common equity principles
Speak to a Michigan Divorce Attorney Today
Equitable distribution of marital assets and debts can be one of the most difficult aspects of a Michigan divorce proceeding. The skilled attorneys at the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins will work to make the process as streamlined as possible to bring about an efficient resolution of any disputes.
To schedule a free case evaluation and legal consultation with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney, please contact us online today.