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Five assets that make divorce challenging for the wealthy

A lot of people grow accustomed to a certain standard of living during marriage. But because divorce can change all of that, discussing property division can turn into a battle over who gets what and how much.

For high-income individuals, property division talks oftentimes lead to contentious disputes. That's because, high-income individuals typically have assets that are more complex in nature, making them far more difficult to divide due to disagreements between spouses over the law.

Below are a list of just five assets that can make the process of dividing marital property a challenging one:

401K accounts. Aggressively adding to a 401K when you're young so that you can enjoy your retirement free of financial burdens is a goal shared by a majority of people. But some in Michigan don't realize that retirement plans and accounts, like 401Ks, may be subject to equitable distribution if part of the account was accrued during marriage.

Knowing that a 401K could be considered marital property later on may catch some people off guard during the division of property step of divorce.

Pensions. Pension plans are another type of retirement account that can lead to heated disagreements when addressing property division. Like 401Ks, pensions may be considered marital property if the account accrued funds during the course of marriage.

Business investments. Even if a business investment is only in one spouse's name, the courts may consider it to be marital property in certain circumstances, making it eligible for equitable distribution during divorce. In order to split a business investment, it must go through the valuation process, which tends to be another source of contention in some cases.

Real estate holdings. When jointly-held vacation homes and other real estate holdings are present, Michigan judges can award the property to one spouse or part of it to each spouse. In some cases, a judge may even order the couple to sell the property. Profits from the sale are then divided appropriately in accordance with the law.

Inheritance money. An inheritance can turn into a thorny issue if individuals don't understand how the law treats these assets in divorce. Typically considered separate property, certain circumstances can cause inheritance money to turn into marital property, thus allowing some of it to go to a soon-to-be ex-spouse and potentially creating a dispute. 

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