734-359-7018
Now Accepting New Clients!
Blog

DIVORCE 49: IT WAS FAIR AND EQUITABLE TO AWARD BOTH PARTIES THEIR OWN APPRECIATED 401(K) ACCOUNTS.

Plaintiff appeals as of right the trial court’s divorce judgment, challenging the decision to award each party their respective 401(k) accounts. Plaintiff argued in the trial court that she was entitled to a portion of the appreciation that accrued to defendant’s 401(k) during the marriage as a marital asset under MCL 552.18(1). To the contrary, defendant argued that plaintiff was not entitled to any of his 401(k) because both parties contributed the same amount of money to their respective 401(k) plans during the marriage and defendant’s 401(k) account only grew more because he started out with more—which was his premarital, separate property. The trial court agreed with defendant, holding that plaintiff was not entitled to any portion of defendant’s 401(k). Plaintiff appeals.

STANDARD OF REVIEW

 In a divorce action, this Court reviews for clear error a trial court’s factual findings on the division of marital property and whether a particular asset qualifies as marital or separate property. Findings of fact are clearly erroneous when this Court is left with the definite and firm conviction that a mistake has been made. We consider whether a trial court’s dispositional rulings are fair and equitable in light of its findings of fact and will reverse only if convinced that the disposition is inequitable.

ANALYSIS

The goal in distributing marital assets in a divorce proceeding is to reach an equitable distribution of property in light of all the circumstances. Typically, each party will be awarded their own separate property without division with the other party. There is no dispute in this case that the amount of defendant’s 401(k) account that accrued up until the parties were married was defendant’s separate property and not subject to division as marital property. The growth of Defendant’s 401(k) was achieved with contributions from marital property.  However, we conclude that, under the circumstances of this case, the trial court’s decision to award each party their own appreciated 401(k) plan was fair and equitable. As the trial court noted, both parties contributed the same amount of marital funds—$18,500 a year—toward their respective 401(k) accounts during the marriage. The fact that defendant’s account grew more than plaintiff’s account was simply because he had substantially more in his account before the parties were married. Under the circumstances of this case, by awarding each party their own appreciated 401(k) accounts, the trial court achieved a fair and equitable settlement.

ADVICE TO CLIENTS HAVING PROPERTY DIVISION ISSUES IN DIVORCE SETTLEMENTS

Aldrich Legal Services understands what a stressful time this is for you when you have property settlement issues.

Aldrich Legal Services represent parties throughout southeast Michigan with a wide range of divorce related matters.

Contact Aldrich Legal Services

Speak to a Pro: (734) 404-3000

Three reasons to put a power of attorney in place

Originally posted on 11/08/2016 While no one wants to think of the unfortunate possibility of being incapacitated or of a time when we can't handle our own affairs, this circumstance is a real possibility. If something happens and this...

How to approach parents about estate planning

Originally posted on 12/09/2016 Family forms a strong foundation for many people's first and most intimate community. It is important to strengthen these first relationships so even uncommon questions become natural. For those...

PROBATE 44: Petition for Mental Health Treatment

Michigan’s Mental Health Code governs the civil admission and discharge procedures for a person with a mental illness. Specifically, MCL 330.1434 sets forth the procedure and content requirements for a petition for mental health treatment.

Should you get your criminal record expunged?

Originally posted on 04/12/2017 If you have been convicted of a crime, have served your sentence, and have followed all court recommendations, you should be able to put your past behind you and move on with life. Moving forward is critical...

Choosing the right executor for an estate

Originally posted on 05/28/2017 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...

Understanding how the Miranda warning works

Originally posted on 11/25/2016 Michigan residents who have seen television police shows or movies involving law enforcement have no doubt watched many dramatic scenes with officers quoting something to the effect of, "You have the...

PROBATE 42: Dissolution of professional corporation.

This case involves the estate of a doctor whose professional corporation also had to be dissolved upon his death. The personal representative of the estate sold the company’s assets but did not pay off the company’s debts before transferring the proceeds to the estate and distributing them to the heirs.

A basic introduction to wills

Originally posted on 10/31/2016 It can be difficult to consider the end of our lives when we are in good health. However, lives can change at any moment, so it is wise to be prepared for any situation that may arise. Despite the many...

REAL ESTATE 73: Quiet title action.

This case involves a dispute over real property located in Michigan. W and V who are D’s parents, acquired the property. In 1999, W and V conveyed the property to the Trust, to which W is the sole trustee, via a quit claim deed. At some point...

How Is Alimony Determined In A Michigan Divorce?

Originally posted on 06/22/2018. When filing for divorce in Michigan, you may seek alimony, spousal support, from their spouse whenever they require financial aid. A judge may order your spouse to pay certain alimony. However, it depends...

Is My Conviction Eligible for Expungement?

Originally posted on 10/11/2019. At one point or another, we have all made mistakes. For some people, those mistakes involved breaking the law. Convictions have a large impact on someone’s life. Beyond the sentencing ranging from...

PROBATE 45: The court held that the probate court did not err by granting summary disposition for Plaintiff, or by denying Defendant’s request for an extension of the discovery period, adjournment of mediation, and issuance of subpoenas and by dismi

This case arises out of competing petitions for probate. On November 19, 2018, Defendant initiated this case by filing a petition for probate, attaching Decedent’s death certificate and purported last will and testament, dated March 9, 2007,...

DIVORCE 57: Holding that the trial court’s factual findings were not supported by the record evidence, and thus could not stand, the court reversed, vacated the portion of the Amended Default JOD ordering defendant to pay $3,325 to plaintiff, and re

Plaintiff first testified that she and defendant purchased the marital home in 1995. At the time the first default judgment of divorce was entered in September 2017, plaintiff had the home appraised. The value of the home was determined to be...

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
consultation
and secure reliable and trustworthy representation today!
Get the Help You Need From a Team You Can Truly Count On: (734) 404-3000
734-237-6482
734-366-4405