Now Accepting New Clients!

Court concluded IRA held by defendant was separate property.

Plaintiff and defendant were married in 1995 when they were in their mid-50s and after both of their first marriages ended. At the time of marriage, defendant had an IRA valued at approximately $800,000. After three years of marriage, due to a change of employment status, defendant stopped contributing to that IRA. Throughout the marriage, plaintiff obtained various retirement accounts amounting to approximately $120,000. In 2012, plaintiff filed for divorce. The case proceeded to a bench trial on the issues of property distribution and spousal support.

At trial, plaintiff argued that defendant's IRA, then valued at around $400,000, should be classified as marital property and divided equally between the parties. Plaintiff also argued that she was entitled to spousal support. Defendant urged the trial court to grant each party the property that was titled in his or her own name and to forego any spousal support award.

Following a bench trial, the court issued a written opinion and order, concluding that defendant's IRA was separate property and that plaintiff had not established the requirements of either statutory ground to invade the separate asset. The trial court also awarded plaintiff spousal support of $350 per month, an amount lower than what she requested.

On appeal, the court rejected her argument that the trial court improperly classified defendant's IRA as separate property. Noting she failed to offer any evidence on appeal, other than her own testimony, to support her assertions that the IRA was treated by the parties as a marital asset and commingled with marital property. It also rejected her claim that even if the IRA was separate property, the trial court erred by refusing to invade the asset pursuant to MCL 552.23(1) or MCL 552.401. It found that, in light of the lack of evidence, she could not show that she assisted in the growth of the account in a sufficient manner to warrant invasion of the separate property.  However, the court agreed with her that the trial court improperly reduced her spousal support award. The court reversed the trial court's award of spousal support and remand the case to allow the court to structure an award using the facts in the record.

Are you facing a divorce in Michigan? Do you have questions about how your assets and your debts will be divided with your soon-to-be ex-spouse?

Financial issues are often the biggest concern for individuals and families who are facing divorce. It is important the you find an attorney that understands the struggles you may face. In Michigan, marital assets - assets acquired during the marriage - are divided equitably during the divorce process. This does not mean that the property division will be equal, however. The court will seek a "fair and equitable" division by taking a number of factors into consideration. Make sure your legal team guides you through the property division process, negotiating and fighting for the best possible outcome with your divorce decree or separation agreement.

PROBATE 2: Can you remove a guardian that holds power of attorney?

Under the EPIC, a “suitable” guardian is one who is qualified and able to provide for the ward’s care, custody, and control. When a preponderance of the evidence weighs against the suitability of the ward’s current choice for guardian, the probate court must remove that person as guardian.

PROBATE 1: Probate court jurisdiction versus business court jurisdiction.

In this case involving a Living Trust, the husband, appeals as of right the probate court’s order granting partial summary disposition to their daughter. The order resolved claims relating to two family businesses, declared the wife disabled, and pursuant to the terms of the trust, removed the husband as successor trustee of the trust.

REAL ESTATE 3: Can you take your neighbor’s land by Adverse Possession?

To prevail on a claim of adverse possession, plaintiffs must show that they possessed the disputed property openly, adversely, exclusively, and continuously for at least 15 years. A party making an adverse possession claim can meet the time requirement by tacking their possessory period to that of their predecessors in interest with whom they are in privity of estate.

The Basics of a Plea Bargain

A plea bargain is an agreement made between the prosecutor and the defendant in which the accused person agrees to plead guilty or no contest in exchange for the prosecutor dropping the charges or recommending a lower sentence to the judge or...

REAL ESTATE 2: Property dispute, intent is not required for a trespass.

In instances of trespass where injunctive relief and actual damages are not warranted, a plaintiff nevertheless is entitled to nominal damages. Because a trespass violates a landholder’s right to exclude others from the premises, the landholder could recover at least nominal damages even in the absence of proof of any other injury.

Bail: Getting Out of Jail After an Arrest

Being arrested in Michigan is certainly not going to be a fun experience no matter what, but it can be easier when you understand exactly what will happen and why. Find out more about how you can get out of jail by posting bond.  What are...

Invoking Your Right to Remain Silent

While the “right to remain silent” represents one of your most unassailable rights, many people have a few misconceptions about how it works. A lot of people receive their understanding of this particular right from media and...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

When people are thinking about planning their estate, they often think about trying to minimize the estate tax, keeping their will updated, and keeping items out of probate court; however, there is another important issue that people need to think...

Is an IRA marital property subject to division?

Plaintiff, age 67 at the time of divorce, and defendant, age 59 at the time of divorce, were married for 23 years. The judgment of divorce provides for a division of property. Defendant appeals arguing that the trial court erred in determining the...

Digital assets and estate planning

Since the first smartphones were introduced nearly a decade ago, there has been a gradual shift from widespread use of traditional paper documents to digital documents. If you need proof, consider that most people have plane tickets on their phones,...

Child Support Modification

Plaintiff sought an increase in child support, claiming the defendant-father's income had increased substantially, which constituted a change in circumstances. In July 2015, plaintiff filed a motion to modify child support. In that motion,...

A divorce shouldn't thwart your estate planning goals

We all know that divorce is not easy, no matter how ready you may be to get out of a troubled marriage. There are certainly emotional hurdles to overcome as you move on with life, and the financial hurdles may take longer to get over than you may...

Creditor's Rights Against Estates and Trusts

The probate court denied a petition for formal proceedings. The petition further identifies the petitioner as a "creditor" of the estate and states that "Litigation against the Estate is pending." Appellee is the widow and was...

What to know about will contests

You create an estate plan to make sure your heirs and beneficiaries are taken care of in the event you are no longer able to. You may also do so to minimize the bickering and infighting that may come between surviving family members who may have...

Don't let a bad decision, unfair contract, or a messy divorce get in the way of a promising future!
Contact the experienced team at Aldrich Legal Services today to schedule your free initial
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000