What should I know about property division in a Michigan divorce?What should I know about property division in a Michigan divorce?

Case specific issues in a divorce affect equitable division of marital property and debt, and so do aspects of the assets and liabilities themselves.

During a divorce in Michigan, couples who have a variety of assets and debts may wonder what to expect from a settlement. While each case is different, there are certain guidelines that can help spouses understand what is involved.

What makes the division so complex?

Michigan is an equitable division state, according to Michiganlegalhelp.org, so all awards are made based on what the judge believes is fair, rather than an equal split of all marital property. While it is possible for the settlement to result in a 50/50 division, it is also possible that there will be an unequal distribution. Factors such as each spouse's need, the length of the marriage and the events leading to the dissolution will be considered when the judge issues the final order.

How are tangible assets divided fairly?

While bank accounts may be fairly straightforward to divide, antiques, vehicles, properties, jewelry and other similar assets must typically have a dollar amount assigned to them. Although the couple may be able to agree about who gets what based on personal wishes, according to Forbes.com, valuation experts or forensic accountants are often hired to ensure that the division is fair.

What factors affect retirement assets?

Bankrate.com warns that how retirement assets are divided can affect their worth. For example, an account may be subject to penalties or extra taxes. In some cases, a transfer to a new account may be possible without negative consequences.

The division of pensions and other benefits may also be problematic, particularly if they are federal plans. Experts recommend speaking to a financial advisor to evaluate all aspects of each account.

How does the court divide debt?

Michiganlegalhelp.org states that marital debt may be divided based on which spouse acquired the debt and whether the debt is tied to tangible assets such as property, as well as which spouse has the ability to pay. When the names of both spouses remain on a mortgage, loan or credit card, they may both suffer negative consequences if payments are not made.

What if one spouse is not honest about assets?

Forbes.com reports that couples must be completely honest about their sources of income. The information provided to the court is considered a legal document, and anyone who lies or hides assets is guilty of perjury, which could have serious consequences.

In any divorce, it is essential to ensure that no assets or debts are omitted, accidentally or purposefully. It may be just as important that none of the issues surrounding the divorce are left out when the case goes before the judge. A person may benefit from a family law attorney who has experience with high asset divorces in Michigan.