Legal Question in Family Law in Michigan

Equitable Distribution 401K. I had large sum of money in my 401K when we got married. More was added during the 5 year marriage. A house was purchased using much of the 401K. Now that we are distributing the assets, my question is about how much of the 401K is mine. At the time of purchase, the "marital bucket" and my personal "bucket" can be calculated.

Much more than the "marital portion" of the 401K was used to buy the house. Is the rest left over in the 401K mine? That is, does the marital portion get used up first (last in, first out principal)? I understand that I "gifted" the rest from my separate portion. The equity in the house will be distributed equally.

Asked on 8/26/13, 5:37 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Christopher Brown Brown & Associates, Legal Services, PLLC

There is no cookie cutter answer to your question. The courts look to the below factors when separating marital property: (1) the duration of the marriage, (2) contributions of the parties to the marital estate, (3) age of the parties, (4) health of the parties, (5) life status of the parties, (6) necessities and circumstances of the parties, (7) earning abilities of the parties, (8) past relations of the parties, and (9) general principles of equity.

Generally, commingled property can be placed in the marital pot. Also, the appreciated value of the non-marital asset may be included unless it appreciated “passively”. And so-called separate property can be “invaded” in order to provide an equitable distribution of the marital estate. I need more information to give you a realistic assessment of your situation. Keep in mind, the realm of marital property division has very few bright line rules. "Equity" is the theme in this area. As you might predict, what is equitable In the eyes of one judge or arbitrator may not be so for another.

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Answered on 8/27/13, 12:49 pm

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