Michigan is not one of the community property states. Instead, state law requires you and your spouse to divide your marital property equitably between you when you divorce. But how do you do this?
FindLaw explains that equitable basically means fair. Equitable/fair, however, does not necessarily mean equal when it comes to your property settlement agreement. Good reasons may exist as to why one of you should receive more than the other.
Before attempting to divide up your marital property equitably, think about the following:
- How old are you and your spouse respectively?
- How much does each of you currently earn each year?
- Does either of you suffer from a medical condition that makes it impossible for you to work and/or requires unusual outlays for medicines, treatments, etc.?
- Does either of you have the legal obligation to make monthly child support payments to a former spouse?
- Does either of you have a history of unwise spending, such as for gambling, alcohol, drugs, etc.?
You should also take into consideration the amount of separate property that each of you owns. While separate property remains separate and not part of your division of marital property, if one of you owns considerably more separate property than the other, (s)he likely does not need as much marital property to arrive at an equitable division thereof.
Keep in mind that separate property includes things like the following:
- Whatever you owned at the time you got married
- Whatever you inherited during the marriage
- Whatever you received as personal gifts during the marriage.
If you and your spouse cannot come to a mutually agreeable property settlement, you can litigate the issue and let a judge decide what is equitable in your particular situation.