If you’ve decided that ending your marital union is the healthiest decision at this time, it’s important to be proactive when planning to divide your marital assets. Marital assets consist of tangible and intangible property acquired during the course of your marriage. The sum total of your marital assets is referred to as your marital estate.
In Michigan, the value of a couple’s marital estate must be divided equitably during the divorce process. Meaning, the value of the couple’s shared property must be divided in a way that is objectively fair. This approach to property division is different from the “equal” asset division approach embraced by many other states. In these states, the value of all assets deemed to be marital property must be split 50-50.
Crafting an equitable split
Because you and your spouse aren’t legally required to divide the value of your marital estate equally, you can mutually agree on any division that seems fair to both of you. As long as you can explain why your proposal is fair within the context of your marriage, a judge is unlikely to question your mutually agreed upon arrangement.
If your divorce becomes contentious
If you and your spouse can’t agree on the terms of your asset division agreement, a judge will resolve those differences as they see fit. Your strategy will need to be laser-focused on what is most important to you and on providing evidence of why granting you key assets or a certain asset value is an objectively equitable outcome.
By carefully considering what you hope to gain in your divorce settlement, what you can let go of, and where compromises can be made, you’ll place yourself in a strong position to have a solid financial arrangement in place post-divorce. Whether your divorce is likely to resolve amicably or will progress in a contentious fashion, if you keep looking forward, you’ll be able to keep this process relatively low-stress and focused on what matters most.