MichiganPost Divorce Property Division
Michigan Property Division Guide :: Table of Contents
What is property division in a Michigan divorce?
Also known as equitable distribution, property division is the process of dividing property rights and obligations between spouses during the process of a divorce. Property division may be agreed upon between the soupses through a property settlement, or it may be decided in court during the judicial process of divorce. The process of property division is affected by state laws such as community property laws, definitions of marital contributions, etc.
Michigan is an equitable distribution state, and assets acquired both during and prior to the marriage can be subject to division following divorce. Some factors considered by Michigan courts in a property division case include contributions to a partner's education. This page summarizes the most important aspects of property division laws in Michigan.
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Michigan divides marital assets via equitable distribution, which means that the court attempts to divide marital assets in a fair and equitable manner between the spouses, taking multiple factors into account in order to determine the equitable distribution for each spouse.
What is the Process for Equitable Division?Under Michigan law, marital property is that which is acquired or is a direct result of the labor and investments of the parties during the marriage is subject to equitable division. Equitable division does not mean marital property is divided equally, it is divided in manner that results in a fair or equitable result for each spouse.
Although there is not a defined list of factors under Michigan statutory law based on case law courts will consider the following factors which include: the length of the marriage; the needs of the parties; the needs of the children, the earning power of the parties, the source and contributions toward marital property; and the cause of the divorce, including marital misconduct.
Alternatively, non-marital property or property defined as property acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage or property acquired by a spouse intended not to be considered marital property is not subject to equal division.
Michigan Property Division FAQ
- Is Michigan a community property state?
- Does state of Michigan only divide marital property after a divorce?
- Is there a set list of statutory factors for determining property division in the state of Michigan?
- Do courts in the state of Michigan consider nonmonetary contributions?
- Does Michigan consider a spouse's economic misconduct in property division?
- Are contributions to education considered in the state of Michigan?
- Can a pre-nuptual agreement affect property division in Michigan?
- How can I enforce a property division order in Michigan?
- Dower and Curtesy in Michigan?
Is Michigan a community property state?
Michigan is NOT a community property state, which means that marital property is not automatically divided 50/50 between the spouses in a divorce case.
Instead, Michigan judges determine property division under the equitable distribution policy, which means that the court divides property between the spouses in what is believed to be a fair distribution, based on each individual's contributions to the marriage and their earning ability and needs following separation. Factors such as one spouse's economic misconduct may also be considered.
In practice, judges in an equitable-distribution state like Michigan often divide marital property with approximately 2/3 of marital assets going to the higher-earning spouse, and 1/3 going to the lower-earning spouse.
Does state of Michigan only divide marital property after a divorce?
Michigan is one of a minority of states that not only divide marital or community property acquired during the course of a marriage, but may also divide assets earned prior to the marriage regardless of which spouse is the title owner. This may result in a significant surprise for spouses who entered a marriage with high-value assets.
Is there a set list of statutory factors for determining property division in the state of Michigan?
Michigan does not have a specific list of factors for the court to consider when determining an equitable division of property between spouses. This means that judges will have flexibility when determining what factors to consider in each individual property division case.
Do courts in the state of Michigan consider nonmonetary contributions?
Michigan does not have a law requiring the court to consider the nonmonetary contributions (like household chores, childcare, etc) of a spouse when determining an appropriate property division.
Does Michigan consider a spouse's economic misconduct in property division?
In Michigan, there are no laws requiring courts to consider economic misconduct (aka wasting marital assets) by either spouse when determing property division. In many other states, economic misconduct can result in a higher percentage of marital property awarded to the injured spouse.
Are a spouse's contributions to their partner's education considered in the state of Michigan?
Michigan statute does provide for court consideration of a spouse's contribution to their partner's education during the course of a marriage. If one spouse supported (financially or otherwise) the other and enabled them to obtain education or other training that increased their earning power, these contributions can be considered by a Michigan judge when determining how to divide marital property.
Can a pre-nuptual agreement affect property division in Michigan?
A prenuptual agreement, or pre-nup, is a binding legal contract signed by both spouses prior to getting married in Michigan. A prenup containing a property division agreement can take precedence over Michigan's property division laws by establishing what is considered as separate vs marital property, as well as agreeing on how finances will be structured during the marriage and divided in the event of a divorce.
The existance of a valid prenuptual agreement can prevent a Michigan court from having full reign to determine how assets are divided between the spouses, and instead allow them to be divided in a way agreed to by both spouses prior to the event.
How can I enforce a property division order in Michigan?
A Michigan property division order is a court order issued by a court order issued by a judge, describing how property is to be divided between spouses following a divorce. A property division order is a binding legal obligation, and failure to comply with the terms in full by either spouse can result in being charged with contempt of court. If your spouse is not complying with a property division order, you can consult a family lawyer to discuss potential legal avenues.
Dower and Curtesy?
Dower (§§558.1, et seq.); no curtesy or dower allowed in community property (§557.214)