When a couple divorces, they must divide their property and debts. This property may include a house, vehicles, furniture and other items. Debts may include a mortgage, credit card debt and other loans.
In some circumstances, the couple is able to agree on how to divide their property. They may choose to do this through mediation, which is a process where a neutral third party helps the couple come to an agreement.
However, if the spouses can’t agree, a Michigan judge will make the property division determination.
Marital and separate property
Marital property is property that the spouses obtained during their marriage, unless it was a gift or inheritance. Even if the title or deed to the property is in one spouse’s name, it may still be marital property.
Separate property is property that one spouse owned before the marriage and if it increases in value during the marriage, that increase is also separate property. Usually, the spouses will keep their separate property after a divorce. However, separate property may become marital property if it is used for marital purposes such as money that is put in a joint bank account, for example.
Usually, each spouse is responsible for an equal share of the total marital debt. However, this may change if one spouse is more at fault for the marriage ending, one spouse is able to pay more than the other spouse, or one spouse incurred debt without the other spouse’s consent for a purpose that did not benefit the household.
Property division can be a complex process and an experienced attorney can help the parties ensure that it is completed correctly.