Michigan is an equitable distribution state, meaning that all assets acquired during marriage must be split fairly in a divorce. Determining what constitutes a marital asset acquired during marriage can be difficult, especially if marital assets were held together in the same account as assets acquired before marriage. However, with the right documents in hand, a family law attorney can more easily provide assistance in making this determination.
What documents should be included?
Individuals can save time and money if they gather their relevant financial documents themselves before meeting with a family law attorney. These documents include income tax returns and wage statements from the past three years or more. Also relevant are any bank statements from checking, savings, or investment accounts. If one spouse made contributions during marriage to a pension fund, retirement fund, or 401(k), among other funds, that spouse will likely need to share some of the value of those funds with his or her ex-spouse.
If spouses own a marital property home, they should be prepared to provide their attorneys with recent mortgage statements and documents relating to the initial purchase and any refinance of the home. If the house was recently appraised, that document should be shown to an attorney as well.
Other documents that a family law attorney may request of a client include title and registration for any vehicles owned by either spouse and documents showing how much is owed on the vehicle. Marital debts are divided equitably in a divorce, so any other purchases made by either spouse that have not been paid off should also be discussed with a family law attorney. Some of the bigger expenses may be found on medical bills, credit card bills, or loan statements.