Many couples accumulate a great deal of property and assets throughout the course of marriage. At the time, the sheer amount of property owned by a couple may go unnoticed. However, if a couple decides to part ways, they will likely have to take inventory of every asset that will be involved in the process of property distribution. Although this process can be overwhelming, it may also be crucial to the outcome of a divorce, especially in equitable distribution states, like Michigan.
Concerning the division of property, assets fall under one of two categories, marital and separate. Marital property includes any assets that are acquired throughout marriage. This also includes debts as well. All assets that are deemed marital property will be subject to division during divorce proceedings.
Separate property, on the other hand, generally consists of anything a person was in possession of before entering the marriage. This can also include assets such as investments, gifts and inheritances. A person may retain possession of separate property following a divorce provided it wasn't commingled with marital property in any way. However, if such an asset is mixed with marital assets in any way, it might lose its separate identity in the process.
These two categories may seem self explanatory, but they can be extremely complex. Expecting to retain possession of a separate asset, only to find out that certain uses have deemed it partially marital, can be devastating. To avoid any unforeseen consequences during a divorce, a person in Michigan should speak with an attorney with intricate knowledge of the process of property distribution for advice and assistance throughout this stressful period in life.
Source: FindLaw, "Divorce Property Division FAQ", May 12, 2017