Your spouse says they want a divorce. And they tell you you’re not entitled to any equity in the home, to any spousal support, or any portion of their retirement accounts or pensions. The truth is if you or your spouse files for divorce, Michigan law requires an equitable and fair division of the marital assets. Therefore, you won’t walk out of your marriage penniless, and can expect to receive a fair division of the marital assets. If you and your spouse fail to come to an agreement regarding the division of assets, the judge will decide at trial. The next question is what is considered marital property in the State of Michigan?
The general rule is if you obtained the property during the marriage, it’s considered marital property. Property includes houses, vehicles, contents of your home (shed, garage, barn), retirement accounts, pensions, and any other personal property you’ve acquired in your marriage. But what happens if your name is not on any of the titles or deeds? It doesn’t matter how something is titled or deeded. Even if your name is not on the title or deed, it’s still a marital asset to be divided fairly in your divorce.
The marital home is where you and your spouse lived while married. If your spouse wants to retain the marital home, they will be required to pay you one half of the equity in the marital home. Equity is calculated as follows: Appraised value – mortgage balance = equity. You take the equity number and divide it half. That becomes your share of the equity of the marital home. If your spouse is unable to refinance to pay you the equity balance, or unable to locate the money from another source, the marital home will need to be sold, and the net proceeds divided between you and your spouse.
Even if you move out of the marital home before the divorce is completed, you will still retain a property interest in the marital home. You do not forfeit your property interest in the marital home simply because you moved out before the divorce is completed.
If you or your spouse have a retirement account or pension, the part of the retirement account or pension accrued during marriage is a marital asset and to be divided between the parties. If you or your spouse can show that a portion of your retirement account or pension was accrued prior to marriage, that amount will not be subject to division in the divorce.
When is comes to dividing vehicles, typically each person keeps their vehicle. However, if the vehicles are not equal in value, the values need to be equalized. You would obtain blue book values for each vehicle, minus any loan balance, to determine the value of each vehicle. From there you can determine if the values need to be equalized.
Divorce can be emotional and messy, and it’s natural for anyone going through a divorce to want to protect their financial interests. Maintaining an objective view of the situation can be difficult when you are struggling with complex emotional issues and personal tensions in your divorce. As an experienced Michigan divorce attorney, Schmitt Law, PLLC can help you maintain control over your property in divorce, and provide detailed guidance and support throughout every step of the process. The right attorney can increase the likelihood of you securing a favorable outcome to property division in your divorce.
Laurie Schmitt of Schmitt Law, PLLC has years of experience representing clients in a wide range of difficult divorce cases. We understand the financial concerns our clients often have regarding their property ownership rights and the doubts they often experience when it comes to property division in divorce.
If you are seeking a divorce, contact us today to schedule a consultation. Contact Schmitt Law, PLLC online or by calling (616) 608-4634 for a consultation today. Our office is located at 401 Hall Street SW, Suite 112D, Grand Rapids, MI 49503.