October 19, 2021

What Equitable Property Division Means for Divorcing Couples

Property division in Michigan follows equitable property division rules. What this means, and the implications, for divorcing couples going through a divorce and the property division process is important to understand.

What is equitable property division?

Equitable property division is a form of property division that focuses on equitable property division principles to fairly divide property between the divorcing couple. During the property division process, marital property is divided between the divorcing couple. Separate property is not subject to the property division process.

Marital property generally refers to all property the couple acquires during their marriage. It excludes separate property which is property one spouse owned prior to the marriage. Marital property and assets are considered owned by both spouses. Examples of separate property can include inheritances, gifts, personal injury awards and property one spouse owned prior to the marriage. Marital property can include homes, cars, furniture, art, cash and other property and assets. When the couple has high-value or complex assets, it may be necessary to have a valuation of those assets performed prior to their division.

Equitable property division focuses on a fair division of property which may mean the property is divided in half but may also mean it is divided in a different way that is fair for those spouses. If one spouse is in a better financial position, if one spouse acquired debt without the other spouse’s knowledge and not for the benefit of the marital community or if one spouse is more at fault for the divorce, those considerations may impact the outcome of property division and what is considered fair by the divorce court.

Divorcing couples sorting out property division should be familiar with how property is divided and what rules are followed during the property division process. Knowing that will help them better prioritize and advocate for their interests as part of their property division settlement agreement.