Although the best way to divide a couple’s property during a divorce is to work out an agreement between both parties, if each is agreeable, their legal counsel or even a mediator can also assist in helping to distribute the assets in a way that will satisfy each spouse. When an agreement cannot between the couple cannot be reached, however, a judge may ultimately decide a division for the couple that is equitable to both parties.
The question then becomes, how does the court decide who will get what? Since Michigan is not one of the states that legally recognizes community property, or rather, that all marital property is considered to be owned equally by each party, the court will instead attempt to divide the property through what is known as a fair division of property.
It is important to realize when a judge makes his or her decision, however, that this doesn’t necessarily mean that each spouse is going to get half of everything. Instead, the judge will consider other factors, such as whether one party is more at fault for the marriage ending or if one spouse needs to receive more property than the other. As an example, the judge could rule that a wife would keep the house because she needs more space since she has custody of the children. When this is the case, the judge may also rule that the spouse getting more of the marital property is also responsible for more of the couple’s marital debt.
Couples who are considering divorce may benefit from learning more about how the divorce process works in the state of Michigan and how the laws apply to their own personal situation.
Source: FindLaw, “Michigan Marital Property Laws,” accessed June 12, 2015