The property laws in Michigan are very clear, and like some other states, community property is not recognized in our state. The property laws in Michigan are not particularly complex, but the specific intricacies may lead to some unexpected property division, especially if you have purchased property specifically for yourself during the marriage. This is because Michigan recognizes all property purchased during a marriage as marital property.
Imagine you wish to own a motorcycle for joyriding on the weekends. Your spouse, believing that motorcycles are dangerous and expensive, does not approve of your decision. Undeterred, you head down to a local store and pick up a bike. You purchase the vehicle with your own credit card that is only in your name, and your spouse is in no way affiliated with the purchase, ownership, maintenance or use of the motorcycle. In nearly every instance in a Michigan divorce, this motorcycle would still be considered marital property, and thus it could be divided in a divorce.
It is important to remember that not all property is divided during a divorce, even if it is property that both parties own. Properties that were owned by one party before the marriage are not considered marital property. This means that if you had purchased the aforementioned motorcycle before marrying your spouse, then the motorcycle would likely be considered your separate property, even if your spouse ended up riding it more than you.
There are other subtle nuances to property laws in Michigan, and if you are going through a divorce and have further questions, you may wish to consider enlisting the aid of an attorney. Legal assistance can help you not only understand property laws in our state but take advantage of them to ensure that you do not lose assets that belong exclusively to you.