One of the most important and controversial issues during a divorce is asset division. In almost every instance, both parties want to know who will get what property or how funds will be divided between the separating parties. In particular, couples often want to make sure that their personal property that they purchased on their own will not somehow be given to the other party.
The good news regarding personal property is that it is not included in marital property under Michigan law as long as it was purchased before the marriage. This means that if you purchased a boat, for instance, before you were married, it is extremely unlikely that your spouse will be given the boat in the divorce. The same is true for any property that was purchased before the marriage. However, assets acquired during the marriage are often more complex.
When an asset is acquired during the marriage, it is considered marital property, regardless of who purchased the property or paid for it, and even regardless of who uses it. This means that if you purchased a boat after you were married using only funds that you accrued through your own paycheck, and even if your spouse never used the boat, there is a chance that he or she may still receive the boat when assets are divided.
In Michigan, courts are required by law to divide property fairly, but what is fair to the courts and what is fair to each party rarely matches up. Courts have to take many different factors into consideration to determine what is fair, and they can often only use the information that is provided to them by the divorcing couple. If you are going through a divorce in Michigan, consider enlisting the aid of an attorney to help you present a case before the courts that ensures you receive a fair division of assets.