Property Division - Michigan Law Services, PLLC - Sterling Heights, MI
Property Division - Michigan Law Services, PLLC - Shelby Township, MI Family Attorneys PDF Print E-mail

Property division in Michigan follows the rule of equitable distribution. While there is no requirement that property awards to each party be precisely equal, there is a presumption that the division will be roughly congruent. If a court departs from this presumption of congruence, it must explain its reasons clearly.

Caselaw establishes a list of factors that courts should consider in dividing property. The most frequently cited list of considerations is the source of the property, contribution toward its acquisition, the number of years of married life, the needs of the parties, the needs of the children, the earning power of the parties, and the cause of the divorce. This list is not exhaustive, and the court may consider any other factors it finds to be relevant in a given situation. While a court need not weigh every factor in each case, it is error to base a property settlement solely on one factor without consideration of others. Fault, in particular, has a limited role: although it is still a consideration in property division, it may not be used as a punitive basis for an inequitable result.

Courts most frequently depart from the 50-50 model of property division in short-term childless marriages that have had few economic consequences to the parties; in cases in which there is significant separate property (as discussed below); or in cases in which one party has greater need. In short-term marriages, courts often return the parties’ premarital property to them but often divide between them the assets that were accumulated during the marriage. In longer-term marriages or those in which the parties have changed their positions in reliance on the marriage, such as by having children or sacrificing career or educational progress, courts are less likely to try to return the parties to their premarital status.

Property Division in Michigan can be complicated.  Contact one of our family attorneys today to discuss your case at 586.991.1SUE (1783)


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