Following a very brief marriage, wife left her husband’s home, never to return. This case involved a brief marriage between two people who never comingled their funds. Both parties are equally capable of earning a living. Both have bachelor’s degrees. The court ruled that the husband’s home was a premarital asset belonging to him alone, denied the wife’s request for spousal support and awarded minimal attorney fees.
Wife asserts that the court should have awarded her half of the amount the home appreciated during the marriage. In a divorce action, a court divides property by first determining whether the subject assets are marital or separate property. Generally, marital property is that which is acquired or earned during the marriage, whereas separate property is that which is obtained or earned before the marriage.
Each party takes away from the marriage that party’s own separate estate with no invasion by the other party. However, a spouse’s separate estate can be opened for redistribution when one of two statutorily created exceptions is met, separate assets may be invaded when one party demonstrates an additional need. Invasion is also allowed when one party significantly assists in the acquisition or growth of the other party’s separate asset.
The court did not err in declaring the house to be the husband’s separate property. Husband purchased the house with his own funds in 2013, and then expended between $75,000 and $100,000 to repair and update the home, all before he and wife married. He did not add his wife to the deed following their marriage and she invested no energy or funds in increasing the value of the home. Wife also failed to establish that the property awarded to her was insufficient for suitable support and maintenance as required to invade husband’s separate property under MCL 522.23.
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? In order to protect your parental and financial rights, it is important to have an experienced and understanding divorce attorney by your side at every step of the way.
Financial issues are often the biggest concern for individuals and families who are facing divorce. At the Plymouth and Ann Arbor law firm of Aldrich Legal Services, our attorneys understand the struggles you may face. We will work hard to help you obtain all to which you are entitled during your divorce.