After child custody questions, the topic of property division is often high on the list of concerns for couples going through a divorce. Whether you have been married two years or 20 years, Michigan classifies as an equitable property division state (rather than a community property state.) What this means is that state law determines, at the basic level, how marital property is assessed and ultimately divided, in a divorce.
As a refresher, marital property may not include every asset that a couple has. Marital property is defined as property acquired during a marriage. It can include wages earned for that year, a house or a car a couple may have purchased together regardless of exactly who contributed what. The time in which it was purchased is often more important, if an asset was accumulated during the marriage, it is often considered marital property. Of course, there are exceptions to this based on specific details surrounding the divorcing couple.
Once the couple has amassed a clear list of assets and liabilities, the negotiation process can begin. Some couples agree to split 50/50 – literally right down the middle. However, sometimes this isn’t practical or possible if one person wants the family home. Having a full understanding of assets and liabilities can allow a couple to trade and negotiate different assets in hopes of coming to a property division agreement that is suitable (and fair and equitable) to both parties.
If one isn’t able to have a full understanding of assets and liabilities in a marriage, it can make it difficult to negotiate. This is why it’s so crucial to take the time to go through the entire financial situation to get the best outcome possible. Many divorcing couples have concerns about this process, and it’s understandable.