Do I Get to Keep my Stuff When I Get Divorced? (Pt 1)

Personal items you bought before the marriage are usually yours to keep afterwards.


For many people who plan to get divorced in the near future, one of the biggest issues they have to deal with is dividing up their stuff. For a few couples (especially those who haven’t been together long and don’t own much, the process is relatively straightforward.) But the longer you’ve been married, and the more you own (and owe) together, the more complex this particular aspect of the divorce becomes.


The question of whether or not you get to keep your stuff when you get divorced is one we’re asked a lot. Many people worry about losing things they believe they are owed, or being forced to give up things that they don’t think their spouse has any right to. So to help you prepare for the process, we thought we’d shed a little light on this particular aspect of the divorce process – asset division.


Let’s start with the basics…


For many people, part of what makes asset division so difficult is the fact that they don’t understand what the process involves to begin with. So here’s a quick breakdown of how the court views your assets, so you know what you’re up against!


What is an ‘asset’?

“Asset” means pretty much everything that you own. From bigger, more valuable items like your home and your vehicles, right down to the knick knacks and the silverware. But not everything you own is considered to be marital property. And marital property is what gets divided up when a couple gets a divorce.


What is marital ‘property’?

Anything a couple purchases or invests in while they’re married would be considered marital property. That includes your home, bank accounts, furniture, cars, and all of the household items you own together. It would not include, however, any separately owned property, or items or investments that either individual owned before the marriage.


So I get to keep my stuff from before the marriage?


In most cases, yes. For example, if you had a trust fund before you got married, and neither of you added any money to it during the course of your marriage, it would likely be considered separately owned property. The catch here was whether or not you or your spouse added to the trust fund during the marriage. If you did, it might now be considered marital property!


This also applies to any items that you and your spouse owned before getting married, including anything from a house or a boat, right down to the bedside lamp or a clock.


Dividing up your stuff can be complicated!


Divorce can be a complicated process, and there are many issues that can cause fights along the way. One of the ways to avoid all that trouble is to be informed. (So you should check back often for more updates on family law in Michigan!) In the next installment we’re going to be looking at exceptions to the standard, what the law requires, and what that might look like for a divorcing couple.


Until then, if you or a loved one are considering divorce and want to make sure that your non-marital assets aren’t gouged by a vengeful ex, or lost along the way due to wily legalese, call The Kronzek Firm at 866 766 5245. Our skilled and experienced family law attorneys can help you with every aspect of your divorce!