Marital Property versus Separate Property

I am frequently asked about how to differentiate marital versus separate property in a divorce.  Michigan law tries to be clear-cut on a topic that is rarely so easy.

Separate property is anything that belonged to one party or the other prior to the date of the marriage. Assets and income that is acquired during the marriage is considered “marital,” unless those assets fall into a special category, or have become co-mingled. This is true only to a degree, however. For instance, it is possible for the Court to divide income that was never co-mingled if it exists in a jointly held account.

Income of either party is technically considered “marital” once it hits a joint account. Frequently, a party will try to prevent his paychecks from becoming “co-mingled”  in order to create a better argument that that money is his separate property. BUT, he does not have a “good” argument for this and will likely not prevail at trial.


If you need specific legal advice for your particular circumstances, we encourage you to privately consult with a lawyer. Our office frequently handles this types of matters. For a free initial consultation, please contact us at (517) 507-5077.

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