Many divorces involve complicated financial issues, and both spouses can find themselves in a contentious battle over certain marital assets. Under Michigan’s divorce law, all property is classified either as separate (non-marital) or marital property, and all marital property will be divided in the divorce according to the theory of equitable distribution. When marital property is divided, courts look at a variety of factors to distribute the property in a manner that is equitable. Financial mistakes can be made at various stages of the divorce process if you do not have an experienced lawyer on your side. The following are tips for avoiding some of the most common financial errors in your Michigan divorce.
Account for Your Expenses and Budget Early
Make a budget as early as possible in your divorce case. Even if you have not yet filed for divorce, it is a good idea to know what your expenses will be and what kind of budget you will be working with. Your divorce lawyer can help you to estimate alimony or spousal support, and the likely amount of child support in your case. By making a budget, you can also plan for the possibility of a property settlement agreement.
Determine Whether it is Financially Viable to Keep the Home
If you feel like you really want to keep your marital home, it is important to determine whether it makes financial sense to do so. Keeping a house comes with taxes, upkeep costs, and other expenses you may not be anticipating. Other liquid assets may be more beneficial in the long run.
Know About All Marital Assets and Debts
You should make a list of all assets and debts you have, including when you acquired them and at what cost. If you have receipts or bills of purchase, you should make copies of those, along with copies of any appraisals or tax documents related to your property. This kind of documentation can help to ensure that all marital property is properly accounted for in the divorce, and that property division will truly be equitable.
Work with a Forensic Accountant if Necessary
If you do have concerns that your spouse is trying to hide assets, or that all marital assets and debts have not been properly accounted for, you should work with a forensic accountant to uncover any marital property that has not yet been documented. Sometimes assets are innocently forgotten, while in other situations, one spouse may attempt to hide those assets in order to prevent them from being distributed by the court. A forensic accountant’s job is to locate those assets and to ensure that the court has the information it needs to properly classify and divide them.
Contact a Divorce Attorney in Michigan
The financial aspects of any divorce can be complicated. To ensure that you do everything you need to do to be prepared for the financial elements of your divorce, you should begin working with an experienced Michigan divorce attorney on your case. An advocate at our firm can speak with you today about taking steps to avoid financial errors. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins to learn more about how we can assist you.