How are the division of assets in a divorce determined in the state of Michigan?
According to this…
Is Michigan a Community Property State?
No. Michigan is an “equitable distribution” state, which means that divorce courts in Michigan may distribute the marital assets of spouses in a way they believe is fair. Equitable (fair) distribution is not necessarily an “equal” distribution.
When I filed for divorce in Michigan, I was told I was entitled to half of everything acquired since my marriage. Ex protested a bit, but I had a wee bit of leverage so half is what I got. Half the selling price of the house; half the retirement; half the cash. It was nearly a 20 year marriage; perhaps that had some bearing on the settlement.
It’s this stuff that makes lawyers wealthy.
Michigan experience in November 2014: Without a lawyer you can decide what you want. Otherwise before going into court, you will go into arbitration.
The arbitrator (a third party lawyer agreed upon and paid by both parties), will try to split things the way she (or he) thinks the judge will decide, if it were to come to a trial (and apparently nearly 99% of divorces in Macomb county do not result in a trial).
Essentially “equitable” means a 50-50 split of assets accumulated since the start of the marriage. Things like infidelity and abuse can factor into it, but again, this is all arbitration, and subject to the fight that you’re willing to put into it if you or she brought such issues into the marriage.
The arbitrator will also help both parties arrive at a spousal support agreement, if necessary. In my case my lazy-dentist-highly-educated-but-refused-to-ever-lift-a-finger-ex-wife agreed to accept only four years of spousal support, which I agreed to pay in a lump sum, and is non-contestable. This could have gone other ways, such as flexible every year based on income changes, renewable after a set time, and so on.
No children were involved in my case.
In the end, I didn’t fight anything, signed what I needed to to be done with her, and the face time with the judge was only about five minutes. Incredibly easy, physically.