Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means the division of property and assets is performed by placing value on what is “fair” to both spouses. The things to consider when dividing property equitably includes which property will be part of the distribution, the valuation of said property, and the actual division of the property. Property is classified in two categories: marital property or non-marital property. Usually, during a divorce, only marital property, or property that was bought or acquired during the time of the marriage, is included in the equitable distribution of property.
It is important for those who are working through or considering a divorce to have the support and expertise of a skilled family law attorney to assist them with the details of what constitutes marital and non-marital property, since the details of how property is categorized can sometimes be complicated. In some situations, property that was inherited by one spouse or was a gift while the couple was married can usually be treated as marital property, but can be excluded from equitable distribution.
For marital property to be divided and later distributed, the property must have evidence of value. Again, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the equitable distribution laws of the state. Some equitable distribution laws vary on the date they use to determine value of a property. In volatile economic times, it is paramount to know what the date is that the court will use to determine value (the date the parties separated, the trial date of the equitable distribution, or the date of the divorce decree), especially if there is contention between the divorcing parties as to the value.
How is an equitable distribution executed after the value has been determined? Most of the laws take into consideration each spouse’s financial situation at the time of the division (including the amount and sources of income), the length of the marriage, and the desire to keep the marital home (should the custodial spouse express a desire to live there with the parties’ children).
There are a number of differences in the factors that courts consider when division of assets is underway in a divorce. Because of each state’s laws and the decisions the family law courts in your area choose, it is imperative to have a family law attorney who is experienced with Michigan’s equitable distribution laws as well as the family law courts in your area. If you have questions or are just in need of consultation in regards to your case, call Van Dyken Law today.