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How will commingling assets affect property division outcomes?

On Behalf of | Nov 3, 2017 | Blog |

As a wealthy individual, you likely enjoy the comfort you have obtained from amassing your fortune. Of course, reaching this point in your personal and financial life may have taken a considerable amount of time and independent work. As a result, you may wonder what will happen to your assets now that you are going through divorce.

High-asset divorce can pose many complications, but most often, parties find the property division process most contentious. In Michigan, asset division laws adhere to equitable distribution, which means that the court will award outcomes that they find most fair and not necessarily equal. Because of the potential for losing a considerable portion of your wealth, you may have many factors to consider.

Prenuptial agreement

Before getting married, did you have the foresight to create a prenuptial agreement with your spouse? If so, you may have the ability to avoid many of the contentious proceedings associated with property division. Depending on the terms of your prenup, you and your soon-to-be ex may have already dictated who should receive what assets.

Commingled property

If you did not create a prenuptial agreement before you tied the knot, you may need to prepare yourself to negotiate for the property you desire. During this preparation, you may want to better understand which assets count as separate property and which count as marital property. Though you may think it will be easy to sort through what belongs to you and what belongs to your spouse, it may not go as smoothly as you hope.

One issue that could complicate property division is commingling of assets. You may think that because a relative left you a monetary inheritance, you should remain the owner of those funds. If you kept those funds separate from any accounts you share with your spouse and did not use them for mutually beneficially gains, they may remain yours. However, if you placed those funds in a joint account, then those funds commingled with other marital funds and could now get divided.

Commingling can also affect property you owned before that marriage took place. Though the personal property you had before marriage typically remains separate, if you commingled those assets with property gained after the marriage, those previous assets may lose their separate status.

Sorting through assets

Because many minute details could come into play during property division proceedings and determining which property is separate and which is marital, you may not feel confident in knowing what you could maintain ownership of after the divorce. In efforts to ease your concerns, you may wish to enlist the assistance of knowledgeable legal counsel as you prepare for this process.