If you are planning to file for divorce in Michigan, you may have already explored Michigan divorce law and the rules surrounding property division. You have likely learned that Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that the court will classify all property owned by the spouses as marital or separate property. Then, all marital property will be divided by the court in a way that the court determines to be fair to the spouses based on a variety of factors. Many spouses worry about their separate property, and they have concerns that separate assets will be subject to division. The following are some tips for keeping your separate property separate in anticipation of a Michigan divorce.
Do Not Commingle Property
The most important tip for maintaining your separate property status is to avoid commingling separate property with marital property. There are many ways in which property can become commingled, but you can take steps to prevent this. Commingled property is another term for property that has characteristics of both marital and separate property because those marital and separate assets have been mixed or combined in some capacity.
How can you avoid commingling property? First, keep all of your separate accounts separate. Do not use accounts or investments you acquired prior to the marriage to pay for updates to the home you share with your spouse, or to pay off marital debt. Similarly, do not give your spouse access to those accounts or investments, and do not make any deposits into those accounts from your income during the marriage (income you earn during your marriage is likely to be classified as marital property, to be clear). If you have any questions, you should seek advice from a divorce lawyer in Michigan as soon as possible.
Enter Into a Postnuptial Agreement
Assuming you do not already have a premarital agreement that clearly identifies certain assets as separate property that will not be divided in the event of a divorce, you should know that it is not too late to enter into a property agreement with your spouse in advance of your divorce filing. To be sure, you can enter into a postnuptial agreement in which you and your spouse agree that certain assets are debts will not be divisible in a divorce case.
A Michigan divorce lawyer can explain how a postnuptial agreement works and can take the necessary steps to ensure that the agreement will be enforceable in the event of your divorce.
Seek Advice from Our Michigan Divorce Lawyers
If you have separate property that you want to ensure will not be divided in your Michigan divorce, it is critical to seek advice from one of our experienced Michigan divorce attorneys as soon as possible. Even if you have property that the court is likely to classify as marital property, making it subject to division, you may be able to negotiate a settlement agreement with your spouse in order to retain certain assets. Our firm can assist you. Contact the Law Offices of Michael A. Robbins for more information about the division of marital property and the classification of separate property in your divorce.