In a divorce, one of the pivotal concerns revolves around the allocation of assets. Michigan operates under an equitable distribution system specifically governed by MCL § 552.19. Under this framework, a judge is tasked with dividing assets in a manner deemed “just and reasonable.” It’s worth noting that this doesn’t always equate to an even 50/50 split between spouses. The judge’s decision may instead be influenced by factors such as each spouse’s financial circumstances and obligations.
For instance, if one spouse shoulders a greater share of marital debt, they might receive a larger portion of the marital property. Handling property division in divorce cases can be exceptionally intricate, often leading to intense disputes. Given the complexities and potential for contention, it’s advisable to seek the counsel of a seasoned attorney for expert guidance.
In dealing with a divorce, you need the help of a Grand Rapids property/asset division attorney. Division of property is often a troublesome process for couples going to divorce. This is why the help of a reliable and experienced Family attorney is a must. To avoid issues and complications in the future, it is best to settle this concern as quickly as possible.
If you want to make sure that your assets are protected and would have a good chance of maintaining possession of your beloved property, call us. It would be our pleasure to assist you when it comes to the division of marital property. Here at John Engman and Associates, we have dedicated attorneys who have been in service for several years already. We will help you get the best outcome in terms of asset division in your divorce.
What is Considered an Asset
The definition of this term tends to be more encompassing than what many individuals might initially think, especially when it comes to how courts and attorneys interpret it in divorce proceedings.
Broadly speaking, assets encompass all possessions and holdings belonging to both you and your spouse. This includes a wide array of items, such as:
- Bank accounts
- Pensions and retirement accounts
- Insurance policies
- Ownership stakes in businesses
- Real estate holdings
- Personal belongings, including vehicles, furniture, artwork, electronics, and jewelry
- Stock options
- Digital assets
It’s important to note that these assets must be meticulously categorized as either marital or separate property as part of the divorce process.
Marital vs. Separate Property in Grand Rapids, Michigan
In a divorce, property can be categorized into two distinct types: marital and separate. The division of marital property falls under the jurisdiction of the courts, while separate property is typically retained by each spouse. However, there are specific situations where courts may intervene in the distribution of separate property, which we’ll delve into shortly.
Understanding Marital Property
The marital property encompasses assets that either spouse acquired or earned during the course of their marriage. This encompasses a wide range of tangible items like cars, houses, and furniture, as well as intangible assets such as pensions, annuities, or retirement benefits.
Defining Separate Property
Separate property primarily includes assets that either spouse owned prior to entering the marriage, spanning both tangible and intangible possessions. It’s important to note that even if one spouse receives an inheritance or gift during the marriage, it is generally considered their personal separate property, irrespective of the timing of its acquisition.
However, there are instances where a court may decide to divide an inheritance or gift in a divorce. This typically occurs when it is determined that the other spouse contributed significantly to its “acquisition, improvement, or accumulation” (MCL § 552.401) found in the marriage property laws.
The determination of what qualifies as marital or separate property can be intricate and challenging. This underscores the importance of having our experienced asset distribution attorneys from John Engman & Associates, P.C., in Grand Rapids, by your side. We are dedicated to ensuring that all assets acquired both before and during your marriage are appropriately disclosed and considered in the divorce proceedings.
Exploring the Distinction Between Separate and Marital Property in Grand Rapids, Michigan
When it comes to addressing asset division in a divorce, especially in the absence of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a fundamental initial step is the meticulous classification of all assets into either “separate” or “marital” property categories. This classification holds paramount importance as marital assets are subject to division, whereas separate assets typically remain with the respective owner.
In broad terms, assets acquired before the marriage commencement are generally considered separate, as are assets acquired during the marriage through gifts or inheritance, provided they are maintained separately. Everything else falls under the purview of marital property. However, exceptions exist, with commingling and appreciation of separate assets often leading to contentious disputes during divorce proceedings.
Will Marital Property Be Split Evenly Down the Middle?
Not necessarily. Under Michigan marital property law, property division is mandated to be “equitable,” not necessarily equal. While dividing assets into equal shares is a common approach, there exists a range of alternatives aimed at ensuring fairness and meeting the unique needs of each spouse.
For instance, in certain scenarios, spouses may prefer to retain specific marital properties, such as the family home or a particular vehicle. Instead of selling the asset and dividing the proceeds equally, it may be awarded to one spouse as their exclusive property. This typically involves an offset involving other assets or a payout from the party retaining the property to account for the value of the other spouse’s stake in it. As Grand Rapids asset division attorneys, we understand the importance of finding the balance to ensure everyone is treated fairly.
When navigating the intricate terrain of property division in Grand Rapids, Michigan, rely on the expertise of John Engman & Associates, P.C. to assist with the division of your marital property. We are committed to guiding you through the process of asset division while striving to ensure that your interests are upheld, and your unique circumstances are taken into account.
Property Division Considerations
When it comes to property/asset division, several things are taken into consideration. The first is whether the properties are part of the marital estate. In most cases, assets before the marriage are considered non-marital property, except when these assets are combined on paper during the marriage. Assets acquired by both parties during the marriage are considered marital property. And these are the properties that need to be divided during divorce. This might sound simple at first glance, but some assets seem to be marital but legally no-marital. This is the reason why having a property/asset division attorney in Grand Rapids on your side during this situation is necessary.
In most courts, the division of property is not necessarily divided equally. The division could be based on several factors, including the following:
- The length of the marriage
- The earning capacity of each party, including their current income and personal assets
- The age, health, and other future needs
- The child custody agreement
- The contribution of each party to the creation of the property/assets
These are just some of the factors considered during the division of property. Even the reason for the divorce would be discussed in court. What did the husband and wife do or did not do which led to the divorce? Things could even get more complicated when it involves complex financial matters
With the right asset division attorneys in Grand Rapids, you can be assured that even with complex financial matters you’ll still get a desirable outcome. No matter the difficulty of the case, our attorneys will handle everything professionally, keeping in mind your best interest.
Navigating Complex Asset Division in High-Net Worth Divorces in Grand Rapids with John Engman & Associates, P.C.
Marital asset division can be particularly challenging in high-net-worth divorces, especially for individuals such as business owners, investors, and licensed professionals. Achieving an equitable distribution often entails multiple valuations, strategic planning to retain key assets, and a thorough examination of debt and tax-related considerations. At John Engman & Associates, P.C., we bring extensive experience to the table when representing spouses in high-asset divorce cases. Our seasoned Grand Rapids divorce attorneys routinely provide counsel on various complex matters, including:
- Business continuation and valuation
- Valuation of intricate assets
- Alimony or spousal support within high-income scenarios
- Retirement and investment assets
- Identifying hidden or mismanaged assets
- Valuation of personal property
In practice, the asset division process often involves spouses relinquishing rights to certain assets in exchange for rights to others. Whether your goal is to safeguard your business, maintain your current residence, or secure a portion of your spouse’s retirement savings, our Grand Rapids asset division attorneys are dedicated to helping you achieve your desired outcome.
Stock Options and Restricted Stock: Navigating Complexity
Stock holdings acquired during a marriage typically fall under marital property. However, the situation becomes more intricate when dealing with stock options. If you or your spouse’s compensation package includes stock options or restricted stock units, it’s crucial to grasp the full scope of these assets and take measures to protect your interests.
Stock options often grant employees the right to purchase company stock at a specified price, usually on a defined vesting schedule. Restricted stock, on the other hand, is awarded but does not fully vest until specific conditions (often time-based) are met.
Stock options and restricted stock typically retain their status as separate property if acquired before the marriage or after separation. Complex questions arise in scenarios where options or restricted stock awarded before the marriage vest during the marriage or where options or restricted stock awarded during the marriage vest after separation. In such cases, some or all of the stock may be deemed marital property.
While some couples address these complexities through prenuptial agreements before marriage, others resolve these issues through negotiated settlement agreements during divorce proceedings.
Financial Disclosures and Uncovering Hidden Assets
Michigan law mandates full disclosure of income and assets by divorcing spouses to ensure transparency for both parties and the court. Our Grand Rapids asset division attorneys are here to assist you with this crucial requirement.
Unfortunately, some spouses may not fully disclose their property, making it challenging to ensure informed decision-making and fair asset division. Various tactics, such as using third parties or offshore accounts, may be employed to conceal assets like bank accounts, business interests, retirement accounts, real estate investments, and offshore assets.
Our seasoned attorneys are well-versed in identifying red flags associated with hidden assets and are skilled in uncovering concealed property through Michigan’s discovery process. We employ forensic accounting techniques to uncover hidden income and transactions, ensuring our clients’ rights are protected, and their interests advanced.
Can a Property Division Order Be Modified by a Judge in Grand Rapids with John Engman & Associates, P.C.?
Typically, property division orders are not subject to revision by a judge unless both spouses mutually agree to the change. They have the option to amend a marital settlement agreement at any point or return to court, seeking a modification based on mutual consent. However, for a court to consider revising a property division order, a spouse must demonstrate timely evidence of fraud or mutual mistake.
In most cases, judges exercise caution when it comes to altering property division decisions post-divorce. This underscores the importance of ensuring an accurate and equitable property division from the outset, with the assistance of a skilled Grand Rapids asset division attorney from our firm. It’s crucial to have a comprehensive assessment of both spouses’ assets and a precise understanding of what constitutes marital property to avoid complications down the road.
Contact Our Asset Division Attorneys Grand Rapids at John Engman & Associates
Can we just go with the settlement without the aid of attorneys? Yes, that could be possible, but in most cases, this type of settlement usually ends up with lots of complications in the future.
If you would like to discuss how to protect your property/assets during your divorce, please do not hesitate to reach out to our Grand Rapids marital asset attorney. We will immediately schedule an initial free consultation with you. In the consultation, you can give us all the details regarding your properties and assets. And base on the details given, our team of expert Grand Rapids martial asset attorneys will set realistic expectations.
At John Engman & Associates, P.C., our Michigan divorce attorneys will do everything in their power to help you through this difficult time. To request a consultation with one of our Grand Rapids, MI, drug lawyers, give our office a call at (616) 454-5222.