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High asset divorces in Michigan raise complex and unique issues

Going through a divorce is never easy, no matter how amicable the parties. When a divorcing couple – or one of the partners – has a number of valuable assets that were acquired either during or prior to the marriage, the divorce process can become quite complicated. Unique challenges face those involved in high asset divorce and may include the following issues:

Property division

Michigan uses the concept of equitable distribution when dividing marital property between divorcing spouses. The means for splitting the assets is based on a number of factors including the length of marriage, needs of the parties and their children, sources of the acquisitions and the earning power of each spouse. For example, if the wife was the primary breadwinner in the family and supported her husband for their 30-year marriage, he may be awarded a higher level of assets.

Valuing assets

Valuation of marital assets is usually the most complex issue facing parties involved in high-end divorces. Some assets – such as investment or retirement accounts – are easily valued whereas family heirlooms, collections of memorabilia, stocks and future earnings of a self-owned business are not. In Michigan, the courts usually use the date of the divorce trial or the date chosen for distribution as the date of valuation, but have the discretion to chose another, more appropriate, date.

Protecting business interests

Not only is valuation of a business interest difficult to attain, it is vital for the spouse who owns the business to protect business assets during the divorce. Splitting the business between the divorced spouses may not be an ideal situation. A public divorce can drag the business through the mud, damaging its reputation. Additionally, time spent dealing with the divorce particulars may pull the owner away from the company, possibly affecting production, oversight of employees and day-to-day operations.

Spousal support

If the court feels that the asset division is inequitable or insufficient, the judge may award spousal support – alimony – based on a wide range of factors. The couple’s standard of living prior to the pending divorce can be a huge factor in high asset divorces and this is where issues of accurate valuation of assets become quite important.

Hidden assets

Some divorcing Michigan couples are not candid about the existence, location or value of certain assets. Tax records often contain all the information you may need about your spouse’s assets but if he or she is hiding valuable assets, professional investigating may be necessary.

The above issues – and many more – may arise prior to and during your divorce. As such, it is important to consult an experienced Michigan attorney. A lawyer knowledgeable about all aspects of high-end divorces may be able to help you obtain a satisfying result.