What is the “marital estate” and why should you care. In a divorce, assets are divided based on the length of the marriage. In a short term marriage, you walk out with whatever you walked in with PLUS half of any appreciation or what was acquired during the marriage. In a long term marriage everything is divided equally. There is no precise definition of long term vs. short term marriage but most would agree that 10 years is a safe divide.
Two exceptions to the marital estate are frequently litigated: inheritances and lawsuit or worker’s comp redemption. These typically are not in the marital estate and therefore will not be divided in a divorce. One important concept to keep in mind is the commingling of assets. Depositing inheritance or lawsuit proceeds in a joint bank account or otherwise demonstrating that your spouse had equal access and use of these funds might demonstrate that it was the parties intent that the funds were “marital”.
If your spouse caused the creation of the asset it might be in the “marital estate”. I have successfully argued that nursing the deceased caused the inheritance to be more secure and therefore made the inheritance part of the marital estate.
Our Downriver Divorce Attorney Law Office and Practice had an interesting short term marriage recently. One spouse received a worker’s comp redemption and then promptly used the proceeds to buy the marital home – both parties were named on the deed. A few months later they divorced. Intense litigation resulted regarding weather this house was in or out of the marital estate. This again demonstrates the need for a competent attorney to navigate the intricacies of divorce.
Every relationship, every marriage and every divorce is different. While precedent is important in family and divorce law, one of the most important factors to ensure effective legal representation is experience. Our law office has over 25 years of experience, while that is something we are very proud of we also take great pride in making sure that each case is scrutinized individually on the merit of the facts alongside the profession experience and knowledge that comes with those 25 years.