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How does family law handle property division during divorce?

Property is not just a collection of random things that a person owns. For many people in Michigan, property has significant emotional and financial value. For instance, home is a place where family memories were created, but it may also be a financial investment. Dealing with these things during a divorce can be overwhelming for even the most level-headed person. Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching this family law issue.

One of the first things to understand is how property is divided. Michigan is an equitable distribution state, which means that property will not necessarily be cut neatly in half. Instead, the split will be whatever is deemed most fair. For some this could end up resembling close to an equal split, while dividing things between two-thirds and one-third might be more appropriate for others. Things like income during the course of the marriage, as well as the length of the marriage, could affect what is considered equitable.

Couples also need to establish which property is marital and which is separate. Separate property belongs solely to an individual and is not divided during a divorce. This type of property generally includes things that were acquired before saying "I do" or that were otherwise specified as separate by a prenup. Marital property is generally anything that is accumulated after getting married, although there are exceptions.

The marital home is often -- although not always -- considered marital property. Figuring out what to do with a significant emotional and financial investment is not always easy, and there are many factors to consider. For example, can the person who wants to keep the home do so with his or her finances? Are there children involved? Would it be better to sell and split the profits?

Unfortunately, there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to family law. What works for one couple during property division will not necessarily apply to another couple's situation. Because of the complicated nature of Michigan family law, some people find it helpful to seek guidance from an experienced attorney before making any final decisions.

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