Family Law Is All We Do

Property Settlement in a Michigan Divorce

Does my spouse get half of everything?

In a Michigan divorce, the parties involved in a divorce are generally each awarded half of the assets and half of the debts that accrued during the marriage.

  • There are many exceptions to this general statement, including exceptions regarding non-marital property, inheritance, and property owned prior to the marriage.
  • Another exception to this general statement is the issue of fault.  In a Michigan divorce, the issue of fault in the breakdown of the marriage may cause a court to award more of the assets to one party. 
  • Due to these exceptions, and some others, you will need to discuss the particulars in your specific case with a Michigan divorce attorney to determine what your potential settlement may be.

Determining your marital assets and debts

In preparing to divide your property for a Michigan divorce, you should take a complete inventory of your assets and debts. 

My office suggests that you make a spreadsheet that includes the names of the accounts/assets and their values.

Who gets what?

In a Michigan divorce, the parties to a divorce usually settle their property rights after negotiation. 


  • Negotiations may be done between the spouses themselves, with the assistance or their attorneys, or with the assistance of their attorneys and a neutral third party mediator.
  • If the parties come to an agreement as to how to divide their property, they must be absolutely sure that they understand and agree to the settlement, because in a Michigan divorce, once the judgment of divorce is entered, the property settlement may not be modified, except in cases of fraud or clerical error.

What if we can't agree?

If a settlement cannot be reached, the matter can be decided at binding arbitration or by the Court after a trial.   In determining property issues at arbitration or trial, a Michigan Family Court Judge will usually consider the following:

  • Length of the marriage
  • Contributions of the parties to the marital estate
  • Age of the parties
  • Health of the parties
  • Life status of the parties
  • Necessities and circumstances of the parties
  • Earning abilities of the parties
  • Past relations and conduct of the parties
  • General principles of equity

Paynter & Associates

Main Office

7071 Orchard Lake Road

Suite 245

West Bloomfield, Michigan 48322

Satellite Office

100 West Big Beaver Road, Suite 200

Troy, Michigan 48084


Phone 248-851-7555

Fax 877-877-7955



SKYPE available upon request


Weekdays:  9am to 5pm.

Early Morning: By appointment only.

Evenings: By appointment only.

Weekends: By appointment only.

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