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P. Simmons
P. Simmons, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 33085
Experience:  12+ yrs. of experience including estate law.
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My wife and I are getting a divorce in michigan. She may try

Customer Question

My wife and I are getting a divorce in michigan. She may try to invade my inheritance
which has always be separate from our marital prroperty.the inheritance consists of a stock portfolio and a sparate cash account.After 41 years of marriage, she feels she deserves
some of this wealth so she can live comfortably for the nest 30 years.
What are the known exceptions that allow the court to permit this invasion and is any way I can attack and prevent the invasion/ And how much is considered enough .
She is using margin soft software with her attorney to come up with a number How can i fight this ?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Estate Law
Expert:  P. Simmons replied 1 year ago.
Hi, My name is Philip. I am an attorney with over 16 years experience. Hopefully I can help you with your legal question.
MI is an "equitable distribution" state as opposed to a "community property" state (as most of the west cost uses this standard).
Equitable means "fair"...though not, necessarily, equal
Although there is no requirement that property awards to each party be equal, there is a presumption that the division of marital property (as contrasted with separate property) will be roughly congruent. If a court departs from this presumption of congruence, it must explain its reasons clearly.
But your question is about "separate property".
The law that applies is MCL 552.19. You can see that law here
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(s2tqjlt1tv0a1etqrh14xfh1))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-552-19
this law is clear...the court is required to treat separate property as, separate property.
However, there are exceptions. There are basically three
The most common one comes from MCL 552.401. You can see the law here
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(uo2tjjvpzriqymqjxqidvdzf))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-552-401
This law allows a court to award one spouse property owned by the other if it appears “equitable under all the circumstances of the case” and the claiming spouse contributed to its “acquisition, improvement, or accumulation.”
There is also MCL 552.23. You can see that law here
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(s2eb1armcb2fvgmroymphkmf))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-552-23
This law allows the court to award one spouse a “just and reasonable” share of the other spouse’s separate property if the marital property awarded to the recipient is “insufficient for the suitable support” of that party and any children in his or her custody. In other words, if one spouse gets a larger share of the marital property, the court can offset this by awarding the other some separate property
Finally, there is MCL 552.23. You can see that law here
http://www.legislature.mi.gov/(S(s2eb1armcb2fvgmroymphkmf))/mileg.aspx?page=getobject&objectname=mcl-552-23
This is the law for spousal support...it gives the court the ability to award support (alimony).
In your case, your separate property should be maintained separate...that first exception (listed above) would not apply
The second exception, the one where separate property can be used to offset COULD apply...example, if the court awarded you a larger portion of the marital property they could award your spouse some of the separate property to offset.
The third exception is one that is a concern (for you)...since ML law allows spouse support, it could be they consider the income from your separate property to set a support payment.
Please let me know if you have more questions. I am happy to help if I can. Otherwise, please rate the answer so I may get credit for my work.

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