Marital Property Matters in Michigan

Learn More About the Rights Afforded to You by MI Law

Michigan is an equitable distribution jurisdiction for the division of marital property. This means that there are no rigid formulas and the court must use its discretion to make a property division that is equitable.

Representing clients in Oakland, Macomb, Wayne, Washtenaw, Livingston, Monroe, Genesee, Lapeer, and St. Clair counties.
Consultations are available in-person and by phone.

What's the difference between marital property and separate property?

Property can be divided into two categories: marital property and separate property.

Marital property may include real property, personal property, family business, income, investment accounts, retirement plans and retirement benefits that were acquired during the marriage.

Separate property is property that a party owned prior to the marriage, gifts, inheritances or property described in a prenuptial agreement. Separate property may become marital property if it was brought into the marital estate by commingling, transferring title or through active participation.

How Is Marital Property Distributed?

The parties, with their attorneys or with the help of a mediator with your attorney present, can usually arrive at an equitable distribution of the marital property. If the parties cannot reach a settlement the court will distribute the marital property between the parties after a trial. The court will usually award separate property to its owner unless the other party meets one of two statutory tests.

Our attorneys are experienced in dealing with separate property and depending on your particular circumstances will advise you of any potential separate property issues.

What Factors Are Considered When Distributing Marital Property?

The court may consider the following factors when distributing marital property:

  • The length of the marriage;
  • The age of the parties;
  • The health of the parties;
  • The life status of the parties;
  • The necessities and circumstances of the parties;
  • The earning ability of the parties;
  • The contributions of the parties to the marital estate;
  • The source of the property;
  • The cause of the divorce, including fault in the breakdown of the marriage; and
  • Any other relevant factor the court deems necessary.

What About Family Businesses?

The family business may be an important part of the marital estate. Our attorneys are experienced in business valuations and appraisals and can help you decide if you need to hire a forensic CPA, financial analyst, or other expert to obtain an accurate valuation for the business.

How Are Retirement Plans & Benefits Handled?

Retirement plans and retirement benefits that are acquired during the marriage are an important part of the marital estate. These retirement assets need to be divided equitably in the judgment of divorce. Once divided in the judgment of divorce these retirement assets need to be distributed through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO) or an Eligible Domestic Relations Order (EDRO). If these QDROs or EDROs are not properly entered with the court and approved by the plan administrators you may not actually receive the retirement assets.

Can Marital Property Distributions be Modified?

Property distributions placed on the record in open court or stated in the judgment of divorce are final, and usually not modifiable, except in cases of fraud, mistake, or duress.

If you have any questions about how your property and assets may be divided in the case of a divorce, call our divorce attorneys located in Birmingham, MI today at (248) 440-7495.

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